Russian Oil Output Close to Record Level as OPEC Set to Meet

Will OPEC Cut Oil Production This Week?
  • November production increases 1.3% from year earlier
  • Russian oil exports at 5.32 million barrels a day in November

Russian oil output in November hovered near a post-Soviet record set the previous month, shrugging off a crude-price slump before OPEC gathers for its biannual meeting in Vienna.

Production of crude and gas condensate averaged 10.779 million barrels a day during the month, according to data from the Energy Ministry’s CDU-TEK unit. That’s an increase of 1.3 percent from a year earlier. While output was slightly down from October’s record of 10.782 million barrels a day, that mark could be exceeded in December as a new field starts, Alexander Nazarov, an oil and gas analyst at Gazprombank, said by e-mail.

“We may finish the year with another high,” Nazarov said after a Novatek OJSC venture announced the start of output at the Yarudeyskoye field on Tuesday.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries meets on Dec. 4 to discuss its output limit, a year after it chose to defend market share rather than cut production amid a supply glut. That decision compounded the price slump as Saudi Arabia pursued a policy that squeezed U.S. shale producers and other higher-cost output.

Novatek Field

Novatek sees output at the new deposit rapidly reaching the equivalent of 3.5 million tons a year, or 70,000 barrels a day, according to a company statement.

Declines in output at Russia’s two largest producers kept growth in check for the month, according to the Energy Ministry figures. Production at Rosneft OJSC fell 0.4 percent against the previous month, with Lukoil PJSC output down 0.6 percent. Output at Tatneft PJSC climbed 4.6 percent in November from the previous month because of bitumen oil, Nazarov said.

Russia, which isn’t a member of OPEC, continues to build output as a weakened ruble reduces costs for drilling and the nation’s tax system helps compensate for the lower price.

Crude exports reached 5.32 million barrels of oil a day in November, an 11 percent gain from the previous year and a 2.4 percent decline from the previous month.

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