Who is Vagit Y. Alekperov

Vagit Y. Alekperov, born September 1, 1950, is an Azerbaijani-Russian businessman and the president of Russian oil conglomerate LUKOIL. Alekperov owns a 20 percent stake in LUKOIL. He is listed in Forbes magazine as the sixth richest man in Russia and the 74th richest man on Earth, as of 2018, with a net worth of $17.2 billion.

BREAKING DOWN Vagit Y. Alekperov

Vagit Y. Alekperov was born in Baku, the capital of the Azerbaijani Autonomous Socialist Soviet Republic and the nexus of the Soviet petrochemical industry, to a Russian Orthodox mother and an Azebaijani Muslim father. His father, Yusuf Alekperov, worked in the oil fields his entire life. His son followed in his footsteps, becoming an oil worker in 1968 at the age of eighteen. Vagit Alekperov then attended the Azerbaijan Oil and Chemical Institute, attending classes between shifts on the oil rigs. After graduation he began to rise through the ranks, becoming deputy head of a production unit on an offshore drilling platform in the Caspian Sea, which on one occasion exploded and sent him flying into the ocean, where he had to swim to shore for his life.

Alekperov continued to rise through the complex intrigue and patronage networks of the various Soviet state oil companies until he was finally made the head of one, Kogalymneftegaz, at the age of thirty-seven. In 1990, at the age of 40, he was appointed the deputy minister of the Oil and Gas Industry of the Soviet Union, becoming the youngest deputy energy minister of all time. The title was largely empty, however, as at the time the Soviet economy was an ineffectual and corrupt system and Soviet society was coming apart as a result of the glasnost and perestroika reforms of Mikhail Gorbachev.

Contributions to the Russian Oil Industry

Alekperov was a reformer, insisting on vertically-integrated state oil companies rather than the much less efficient structure prevalent beforehand, in which various companies integral to the refining and transport process reported to various branches of the Soviet bureaucracy. The first such vertically-integrated company was Langepas-Uray-Kogalymneft, which, after the fall of the Soviet Union, became LUKOIL, with Alekperov at the helm.

Today, LUKOIL is the second largest oil corporation on the planet, employing over 100,000 people worldwide, only surpassed by American petrochemical titan ExxonMobil. LUKOIL was the first Russian business to ever acquire an American business, purchasing Getty Petroleum Marketing in 2000, as well as over 1,300 gas stations in the US.