Vagit Alekperov, 52, was born in 1950 in Baku, Azerbaijan, one
of the earliest centers of the international petroleum industry.
His father worked in the oil fields all his life and inspired
Alekperov to follow in his footsteps. He was 18 when he landed
his first job in the industry. Alekperov attended Azerbaijan Institute
of Oil and Chemistry, then trained as an engineer to work in the
nearby Caspian Sea oil fields. In 1979, he was sent to western
Siberia, where he would later become general director of local
oil and gas producer Kogalymneftgaz, a position he held until
1990. By 1991, Alekperov had established himself as an industry
expert, winning an appointment as first deputy minister of fuel
and energy, then as acting minister. He used his newly attained
power to lobby for the consolidation of Russia's three oil producers
into one company -- then assumed presidency of the new company.
His nicknames, "the General," "Alek the First" and "the Don,"
are indicative of his indisputable authority at LUKoil, whose
name came from the first letters of the three companies that consolidated--
Langepas, Urai and Kogalym. Today LUKoil is among the world's
most powerful oil companies, with reserves second only to Exxon.
Like many other oligarchs, Alekperov has moved into banking and
Imperial Bank; in the television industry, TV-31, REN-TV,
and TCN; the newsdaily Izvestia; Russian Oil
While acting minister of fuel and energy, Alexperov conceived
of, created and secured the presidency of LUKoil.
In 2003, LUKoil negotiated new exploration contracts in
western Iran, Egypt's Gulf of Suez, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan.
In 2002, LUKoil signed a six-year contract with Ecopetrol
(Empresa Colombiana de Petroleos), the Colombian state
oil company, to explore and produce in the Llanos petroleum
basin. LUKoil also owns its own refineries and filling
stations, including 1,300 in the United States, which
it acquired after its purchase of Getty Oil in 2000. LUKoil
was the first Russian company to acquire a publicly traded
1997, the Russian newsdaily Izvestia detailed allegations
linking top LUKoil officials to organized crime. In a
blow against press freedom, LUKoil, a major shareholder
in the newspaper, promptly took over a majority on the
newspaper's board and fired its top editors.
Next: Boris Berezovsky - Russia's
Previous: Roman Abramovich
- Stealth Oligarch
Photo of Vagit Alekperov - Photographer/Getty Images
Photo of Vladimir Potanin - Photographer/Getty Images
Photo of Roman Abramovich - AP / Wide World Photos
Photo of Mihail Fridman - AP / Wide World Photos
Photo of Vladimir Gusinsky - AP / Wide World Photos
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