Russia’s April Oil Output Near Post-Soviet Record

Russia, the world’s biggest oil producer, boosted crude and condensate production 1.5 percent in April from a year earlier to 10.47 million barrels a day, close to a post-Soviet era record.

Daily output grew 0.2 percent from March, according to preliminary data sent by e-mail today from the Energy Ministry’s CDU-TEK unit. The record of 10.49 million barrels was reached in November. Soviet-era production in Russia peaked at 11.48 million barrels a day in 1987.

Russian supply will be stable or increase slightly this year, Vagit Alekperov, the chief executive officer of the nation’s second-biggest producer OAO Lukoil, said April 30 in St. Petersburg. President Vladimir Putin has called for output to be maintained at more than 10 million barrels a day. The biggest increases last month came from gas condensate production at natural gas companies, with OAO Gazprom’s liquids output up by 18 percent to 333,000 barrels a day and OAO Novatek boosting output 4.5 percent to 90,000 barrels a day.

Exports in April rose 6.4 percent from the previous month to 5.58 million barrels a day as seasonal refining maintenance peaked. Shipments were up 1.1 percent from a year earlier.

Oil exports are set to decline in May and could continue to fall in the second half as refineries return from maintenance, according to an e-mailed note by London-based consultant Energy Aspects Ltd. today.

Export Slide

“The decline has been more potent in recent years as Russian refineries are processing record volumes of crude, both to supply the domestic market and to export more products to Europe,” Energy Aspects said.

Natural gas output advanced 0.3 percent last month from a year earlier to 1.86 billion cubic meters a day, the ministry’s data show. Gazprom, Russia’s gas export monopoly, cut production 3.7 percent to 1.33 billion cubic meters a day.

OAO Rosneft, the world’s largest publicly traded oil producer by volume, produced over 4 million barrels of crude and condensate in Russia last month, including from its TNK-BP assets. The state-controlled company purchased TNK-BP for $55 billion in March.