WATCH: Ukraine seizes control over Black Sea oil & gas drilling platforms from Russia
Following a military operation, Ukraine has brought back into its fold platforms operated by the Crimea-based oil and gas company Chernomorneftegaz in the Black Sea off the coast of Crimea.
According to Ukraine’s military intelligence authorities, the country’s forces have recaptured multiple offshore drilling platforms, known as the Boyko towers, near the coast of Crimea in the Black Sea, which were seized by the Russian-backed regime in Crimea in 2015, after Russia annexed the Crimea Peninsula in 2014.
Russia accused Ukraine of carrying out an alleged missile strike on three platforms located about 70 kilometres south of Odesa at the Odeske gas field on the continental shelf of the Black Sea in June 2022, which resulted in several injured and missing persons. After being discovered in 2009, the gas field was developed by Chornomornaftogaz, a subsidiary of Ukraine’s state-owned energy company, Naftogaz.
The development of this field was done in cooperation with the China National Offshore Oil Corporation and commercial production started on 5 September 2012. It is believed that Russia used the Boyko towers for military reconnaissance in the Black Sea.
“Russia occupied them in 2015, and with the beginning of the full-scale invasion, used them for military purposes. In particular, as helipads and for placing radar equipment,” disclosed Ukraine’s military intelligence.
Ukraine confirms that it regained control over the Petro Godovalets, Ukraine, Tavrida, and Syvash drilling platforms. The corruption scandal after which the Boyko towers were named came to light in 2011, after a scam with the purchase of two drilling units, was exposed.
These rigs were purchased by Chornomornaftogaz through offshore laying companies, paying approximately $400 million for each. In Ukraine, the corruption scheme became known as Boykoʼs towers, as Yuriy Boyko was the head of the country’s Ministry of Energy and Coal Industry at the time.
“During the operation, the special forces managed to seize valuable trophies: a stock of helicopter ammunition of the NAR type (unguided aerial missiles), as well as the Neva radio-electronic station, which can track the movement of ships in the Black Sea,” added Ukraine’s military intelligence authorities.