The oil and gas industry is not usually given credit for increasing wildlife numbers, but the sector in one remote part of Russia has played a part in creating the largest reindeer herd in the world.

A West Siberian oil-producing subsidiary of Russia's Lukoil recently revealed the extent of its efforts to help indigenous groups in its core operating region of Khanty-Mansiysk to compensate them for drilling on their land.

Kogalymneftegaz is planning to spud an exploration well on the Ravenskoye oilfield in the region, but the intended site will impact on the feeding grounds of reindeer herds that belong to a local indigenous group, known as Khanty.

To use the Khantys' land permanently, Kogalymneftegaz will have to sign a long-term assistance agreement with the indigenous group, to add to 360 existing similar accords.

Under these agreements, last year alone it delivered 413 units of snowmobiles, sledges, motor boats, chainsaws and mobile electric generators, as well as 953 tonnes of petrol and diesel fuel to Khanty whose dwellings and reindeer pastures are located in the company's areas of operation.

The subsidiary also supplied compound feed for reindeer that Khanty traditionally breed as a source of meat and horns, as well as using them in sleigh sled manufacture.

Since 2006, Kogalymneftegaz has delivered over 1244 tonnes of specially produced compound feed to more than 1300 indigenous residents who together have livestock exceeding 5300 reindeer.

Support from major corporations and limited demand for reindeer meat has created a potential environmental issue, with the number of reindeer in the Siberian tundra doubling to over 760,000 in the last 50 years.