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Russia opened its latest gas production site this week. President Vladimir Putin formally opened the commercial production at the Bovanenkovo field on the Yamal peninsula in extreme northwestern Siberia.

The discovery of the site by the Soviets in the early 1970s created excitement and frustration in equal measure. The excitement was because of the huge potential, the frustration because of the severe ice conditions, permafrost and remoteness.

Now the site has opened up and Russian energy giant Gazprom estimates to be 4.9 trillion cubic meters (177 trillion cubic feet) of natural gas in the field - making it one of the world's three largest deposits.

"The field will produce 115 billion cubic meters (4,060 billion cubic feet) of gas and that will go up to nearly 140 billion," Putin told the field's workers by live video.

"This is nearly the equivalent of how much we export to Europe," Putin stressed.

The giant field is second in size in Russia only to Gazprom's Urengoi deposit to the south. It is a part of an Arctic project that Gazprom has been pinning its hopes on as older wells run dry.
See also:
Gas in the Arctic

Arctic Energy Portlet