MOSCOW, March 22 (UPI) -- Russian oil company Gazprom Neft said it reached a milestone with production at its Arctic Prirazlomnoye field with its 10 millionth barrel of oil.
"The 10-millionth barrel of oil is a major landmark, proving that oil production on the Arctic Shelf can be both safe and viable," Gennady Lubin, the company's executive director for operations on the Russian continental shelf, said in a statement.
Advocacy groups like Greenpeace have been critical about oil operations in the extreme climates of the Arctic north, saying an oil spill in the region would be catastrophic and difficult to control.
Gazprom Neft said a stationary rig at the site is designed specifically to ensure the risks of a spill are minimized to the greatest extent possible. Production, the company said, is planned around what it described as stringent environmental safeguards.
Last week, the company revised its production schedule higher after a review of data found annual peak production rates could reach 35 million barrels.
"We are pushing ahead with opening up the Prirazlomnoye field, with the production and shipment of hydrocarbons running to schedule," Lubin said.
While most companies are scaling back under pressure from lower crude oil prices, the Russian oil company said it could do more with less given the revisions to production estimates from the Prirazlomnoye field.
Oil from the field is transported by two doubled-hulled tankers designed to ensure safe delivery from the Arctic north. Discovered in 1989, the Prirazlomnoye is roughly 35 miles from shore in the Pechora Sea.