Russia March Crude Oil Output Advances to Post-Soviet Record

April 2 (Bloomberg) -- Russian crude oil and gas condensate production climbed 1.6 percent in March from a year earlier to 10.36 million barrels a day, marking a post-Soviet record.

Production rose 0.2 percent from February, according to preliminary data from the Energy Ministry’s CDU-TEK unit. The previous high was 10.35 million barrels a day in October last year. Soviet-era output in Russia peaked at 11.48 million barrels a day in 1987, according to data compiled by BP Plc.

President-elect Vladimir Putin has called for Russian producers to maintain output at more than 10 million barrels a day for at least the next decade and lowered the tax rate on crude exports last year to spur production.

“We see output at its peak, maintained by drilling,” said Valery Nesterov, an oil analyst at Troika Dialog in Moscow. “But it will not last for long. The situation will remain stable for another two to three years and then output will start declining.”

Oil exports fell to 5.25 million barrels a day, down 0.3 percent from February and 6.1 percent from a year earlier.

OAO Gazprom, the state-controlled natural-gas producer and exporter, boosted oil output 14 percent from a year earlier to 314,800 barrels a day, maintained a lead over OAO Bashneft, the regional producer controlled by billionaire Vladimir Evtushenkov’s AFK Sistema.

OAO Lukoil, Russia’s second-biggest oil company, was the only one of the nine biggest producers to have an annual decline in March, with output of 1.69 million barrels a day. That was a decrease of 2.4 percent from a year earlier, while a gain of 0.1 percent from the previous month.

Russian natural-gas production rose 0.9 percent from a year earlier to 2.01 billion cubic meters a day. Output at OAO Gazprom, Russia’s export monopoly, fell 1.4 percent to 1.52 billion cubic meters a day in March against the same period the previous year, and 3.6 percent from February, when a cold snap boosted demand.

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