The history of Siberian oil discovery started long before the oil became a symbol of the region and the Urai city founded. During hundreds of years a number of researcher presumed existence of petroleum in Western Siberia. Academician Ivan Mikhailovich Gubkin, the founder of Soviet petroleum geology set up a working hypothesis on existence of oil fields in West Siberian plain. The critical moment, beginning the history of Western Siberia as of an oil and gas province, took place in 1953 with a strong well blow out near Berezovo located in the Northern part of the Khanty Mansi region, near the Ob River, on the 64th parallel. This event gave a start to large-scale geological expeditions in the northern territories of Tyumen region. In 1959 an oil and gas deposit discovered near the Shaim settlement by the Konda River was producing more than one ton of oil per day. It was the first real commercial oil of Siberia. The Uray Shaim settlement was founded by immigrants in 1922. In 1962 the industrial community of Urai was registered and became a town in 1965. Urai is considered by many as the first oil city of Siberia. The producing entity Uraineftegas was created. In aftermath of the Soviet Union collapse in 1991, Uraineftegas became part of a new company: Lukoil. (Source: Russian Earth Cryosphere Institute – Image: Exploration drilling site believed to be in Urai Shaim field, Tyumen region, in the early 1960)

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