Lukoil’s chairman and his deputy pumped up their stakes in the Russian oil producer last year despite waning oil prices and long-term market uncertainty.

According to the company's 2020 annual report, the shareholding of chairman Vagit Alekperov and deputy Leonid Fedun rose by 0.2% to a combined 37.7%.

The shares are held directly and indirectly via investment firms.

Based on Lukoil's current market capitalisation, the executives added 8.2 billion roubles ($110 million)-worth of shares to their portfolios, which they started to build after the creation of the company in 1991.

While both executives have acknowledged the importance of reducing carbon dioxide emissions amid the energy transition, they also said Lukoil has no plans to exit the oil business despite numerous market expectations of waning demand in the years ahead.

Global oxygen donor

Instead, Fedun said last month that the company expects a “recovery super cycle to begin soon” in the global oil and gas industry, with energy prices to rise steadily in the long term as demand recovers.

Fedun — who was earlier appointed to oversee reforms and measures to reduce emissions in the company — said last year that planting trees across the country will allow Russia to offset its own and other countries' carbon emissions.

In an interview with Moscow television channel RBK, Fedun said that if the tree-planting programme is implemented, Russia could become an “oxygen donor for the rest of the world” in 20 to 30 years.

Last week, Lukoil was reported to have completed the transfer of its energy-generating assets, mostly in the south of Russia, to a separate company, independent of the oil producer.

According to analysts from VTB Capital in Moscow, these assets are estimated to have been responsible for 37% of Lukoil’s total CO2 emissions last year.

The company said it is working to attach a CO2 emission tag to its oil and gas-producing and processing projects, as well as to introduce a carbon emission gauge into key performance indicators for its management team.