Russia's East Siberia: from Gulag to oil frontier
A 130-strong team of drillers, hardened frontiersmen who live in barracks set in sparse fir forests, have so far drilled 12 exploration wells.
They are helping fulfill President Vladimir Putin's strategy to wean Russia of its dependence European markets. Vankor's oil will go east, via a new pipeline being built to China and the Pacific.
Set in the frozen tundra, the Vankor field has recoverable reserves of 2.5 billion barrels, enough to supply booming Asian markets for decades to come.
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