Russian Oil Output Reaches Post-Soviet Record 10.12 Million Barrels a Day

Russia, supplier of about 12 percent of the world's oil, increased crude production in March to a post-Soviet record as TNK-BP tapped deposits and OAO Bashneft's new owners squeezed more crude from older fields.

Crude output reached 10.12 million barrels a day, a gain of 3.3 percent from the same month last year and 0.4 percent from February, according to preliminary data released today by the Energy Ministry's CDU-TEK unit. Exports rose 3 percent on the month to 5.38 million barrels a day.

"I think we're going to see this continuing this year," Artem Konchin, an oil and gas analyst at Unicredit SpA in Moscow, said by phone.

TNK-BP, BP Plc's joint venture with four billionaires, increased output an annual 3.4 percent to 1.43 million barrels a day after starting production at the Verkhnechonsk, Kamennoye and Uvat deposits in Siberia. Bashneft, based in the Bashkortostan region near Kazakhstan, has increased output 21 percent to 280,000 barrels a day in the year since billionaire Vladimir Yevtushenkov's AFK Sistema agreed to buy the company.

Further growth will probably be led by state-run OAO Rosneft and its smaller rival OAO Lukoil, Konchin said. Rosneft's Vankor project, the largest new development in Russia, is about halfway to capacity, while Lukoil plans to start production in Russia's section of the Caspian Sea this year.

Rosneft's output in March fell an annual 1.5 percent to 2.24 million barrels a day after CDU-TEK stopped attributing to it the production at Tomskneft, a venture Rosneft jointly owns with OAO Gazprom Neft. Lukoil's production fell an annual 1.8 percent to 1.83 million barrels a day. Both companies are based in Moscow.

Russian natural-gas production declined about 6 percent in March from February to 1.94 billion cubic meters a day.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stephen Bierman in Moscow at sbierman1@bloomberg.net

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