President Vladimir Putin officially launched production at East Messoyakha, the northernmost field on the Russian mainland on Wednesday.

The president took part in the opening ceremony via a televised link to the field installation, located in the Gydan Peninsula at 68 degrees north in the Yamal-Nenets tundra.

Along with the nearby West Messoyakha, the field holds more than 470 million tons of extractable oil and 188 billion cubic meters of natural gas. It is connected with the 485-kilometer-long (about 300-mile-long) new Zapolyarye-Purne pipeline, built and owned by Transneft, the state-owned oil pipeline company.

"I want to stress that the industrial development of the Arctic territories, the launch of new, huge fields is made possible thanks to major infrastructure projects," Putin said, according to a transcript from the Kremlin.

With the field development and the pipeline infrastructure, a new region is opened to industrial development. The project operator, a joint venture of Rosneft and Gazprom-Neft, is in the process of developing also the West Messoyakha.

The Messoyakha fields are located on the eastern side of the Ob Bay, an area of major oil and gas development. Several of Russia's biggest gas fields are located a few hundred kilometers further south, and in the Yamal Peninsula, project development and production is going full steam at the Novy Port, the South Tambey and the Bovanenkovo.

This piece was first published in The Independent Barents Observer and is republished here by permission.