Vagit Alekperov (Вагит Алекперов) is the president of LUKoil, the largest oil company in Russia. Forbes valued his fortune at $13.2 billion, in July 2014. Alekperov is rated with 7th highest net worth in Russia and 85th in the world. In March 2014, LUKoil announced it won a $4 billion bid to control oil production in West Qurna, Iraq, possibly the largest known untapped oil field. Alekperov had been eyeing West Qurna since the 1980’s.
Family and Education
Vagit Alekperov was born in 1950 in Baku, Azerbaijan. Vagit followed his father’s career path and started working in the oil fields at eighteen. Vagit Alekperov was orphaned as a young child. He received a degree from the Azerbaijan Oil and Chemistry Institute in 1974. While in university he was a drilling operator for Kaspmorneft, an oil company in the Caspian region.
Vagit is married with one son, Yusuf, who is slated to be the heir of his father’s fortune.
Climbing the Ranks
When working for Kaspmorneft, Alekperov was given his first management job as deputy head of a production unit. In this position, he braved dangerous working conditions. He was once hurled into the Caspian Sea by an explosion and had to swim for safety. In 1979, he moved to Western Siberia to work at Surgutneftegaz where he asserted himself as an oil industry expert.
Oil Industry Leader
In 1985, he was appointed the Deputy General of Bashneft an oil company. He ran the major oil company until 1987 when Kogalymneftegaz, a new oil company, appointed him their General Director.
His expertise was in demand. In 1990, Vagit Alekperov was called on to be the Deputy Minister of the Oil and Gas Industry in the Soviet regime. He centralized the state owned oil and gas companies to coordinate activities. Alekperov formed Langepas-Uray-Kogalymneft in 1991, under the auspices of the Ministry of Oil and Gas. In 1993, the conglomerate became a joint stock company called LUKoil. Shares were given to the workers. Alekperov quickly bought ten percent of the shares in the company and became its president. Suleyman Kerimov tried to buy out LUKoil from Alekperov but the deal never went through.
Currently, Vagit Alekperov owns about twenty percent of the company that was worth about $13 billion in 2012. Alekperov remains LUKoil’s president. He has led the company to become the third largest oil and gas company in Russia and the eighteenth largest in the world with production of 2.2 million barrels a day in 2012. LUKoil is vested in many joint projects around the world with many industry leaders including British Petroleum and Exxon.
Vagit Alekperov has been known to consult Vladimir Putin on industry strategy and business planning.
Alekperov has helped develop and modernize Russia’s oil and gas industry together with Mikhail Fridman, Victor Vekselberg, German Kahn, Len Blavatnik from TNK-BP and Roman Abramovich form Sibneft.
IFD Kapital Group
In 2003, IFD Kapital Group was founded from $3 billion of LUKoil’s non oil related assets. It runs LUKoil Garant a large pension and insurance company, asset managing companies, Petrocommerce OJSC a commercial bank, Russian Media Group and real estate investments. Business partners Vagit Alekperov and Leonid Fedun, were the main shareholders in the company in 2006. In 2012, its assets were worth over $14 billion making it one of Russia’s top hundred companies.