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Video linkup with West Alpha drilling rig in Kara Sea

August 9, 2014, Sochi

Vladimir Putin gave the signal via video linkup to start exploratory drilling operations at the West Alpha rig (Universitetskaya-1site) in the Kara Sea. This project is being jointly implemented by Rosneft and ExxonMobil.

Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin and President of ExxonMobil Russia Glenn Waller attended the launch ceremony on the drilling platform in the Kara Sea.

Drilling at the Universitetskaya-1 site, the northernmost oil rig in Russia, will take place in open waters during the ice-free drilling season from August through to late October. The West Alpha rig has undergone additional modernisation to enable it to operate in the Arctic waters and has been furnished with innovative ice control equipment and a system for avoiding collisions with icebergs.

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Video linkup with the West Alpha drilling rig in the Kara Sea

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, friends. I am very pleased to see all of you.

We are about to take another major step in the development of promising oil and gas fields in the Arctic. The West Alpha rig is ready to begin drilling an exploratory well on the Kara Sea shelf. This is a great achievement.

I know that the project being launched is unique in many ways. It will use the latest technology. A large number of geological surveys have already been carried out, and special environmental protection measures are in place. I know that Rosneft and all of its partners, including ExxonMobil, attach special significance and pay great attention to this aspect, especially in this part of the world with its sensitive ecology.

As I have already said, all this great work was made possible by uniting the efforts of Rosneft and our US partner, ExxonMobil. Practice shows that it is nearly impossible, or at least very difficult, to implement alone such large high-tech projects, projects of global scale and significance. Today commercial success is determined by effective international cooperation.

Businesses, including large companies, both Russian and foreign, are well aware of that. In spite of the difficult current political situation, pragmatism and common sense still have the upper hand, and that is very gratifying. In our opinion, this is a truly responsible, business-like approach, and only such an approach can be productive. We certainly welcome this position and, in turn, are open to expanding our cooperation with partners.

Once again, I stress, ExxonMobil is our old, reliable partner, and we greatly value our relationship. I am convinced that joint projects between Rosneft and ExxonMobil, as well as other companies, will benefit our national economy, contribute to improving the global energy situation and will undoubtedly lead to the development of breakthrough technologies and job creation.

Finally, I want to sincerely thank all those involved in developing the rich resources of the Arctic shelf, everyone working to develop new oil fields in the area. I know that a great deal of work still lies ahead for you. I am confident that you will cope with it, as always, at the highest professional level.

I want to wish you every success.


August 9, 2014, Sochi