Russia Crude Output Highest in 30 Years

Russia Crude Output  Highest in 30 YearsRussia Crude Output  Highest in 30 Years

Russia's oil production rose 0.3% to 10.91 million barrels per day in March, putting in doubt the success of a proposed crude production freeze between members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and other major producers.

Russia's Energy Ministry data on Saturday showed that oil output reached 46.149 million tons in March versus 43.064 million tons, or 10.88 million bpd, in February, Reuters reported.

Leading oil producers, including Russia, are due to meet in Doha, Qatar, on April 17 for talks on how to freeze oil output at the average levels reached in January to support the global market.

But the increase in Russian output to levels not seen since 1987, when it reached a record high of 11.47 million bpd, suggests it may prove difficult for Moscow to stick to oil output freeze commitments.

Some oil industry observers said that it would be hard for Russia to stick to an output freeze since the domestic industry is dominated by several big oil companies, such as Rosneft, Gazprom and Lukoil, each pursuing their own agenda.

The latest production statistics showed that companies, categorized by the ministry as "small producers", were behind the higher production total, with an increase of 1.5% to 4.92 million tons (1.16 million bpd) in March.

An 11.9% rise in output from joint ventures with foreign oil companies also contributed to the increase in total production.

Oil output under production sharing agreements, designed in the 1990s to encourage investment by foreign oil companies, jumped to 1.51 million tons (357,000 bpd) last month.

Output from major Russian oil companies fell last month, led by a 0.7% output decline at the world's biggest-listed oil producer Rosneft. Output at Lukoil and Surgutneftegaz edged down by 0.1%.

Rosneft has said it plans to keep production unchanged this year after it fell by 1% in 2015.

The ministry also reported natural gas production at 53.98 billion cubic meters last month, or 1.74 bcm a day, versus 52.92 bcm in February.