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Russian Oil Output Nears All-Time High

Russian oil production moved closer to an all-time high before the nation meets with OPEC partners to discuss future supply.

The country’s crude and condensate output averaged 11.412 million barrels a day last month, according to data from the Energy Ministry’s CDU-TEK unit released Friday. That’s about 160,000 barrels a day more than two years ago, before Russia agreed to cut supply with OPEC. It’s a post-Soviet record, and not far off the highest-ever output.

The production boom comes amid mixed signals from global oil producers. Russia suggested last Saturday it could push output to a fresh record, just days after a committee representing the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies signaled the group could cap supply again in 2019.

Crude prices are down by more than 15 percent since hitting a four-year high last month. The market is beset by bearish forces: rising oil inventories; higher production from Russia, OPEC and the U.S.; there’s also great uncertainty about the impact of American sanctions on Iran’s exports and concerns over global demand.

Russia, which relies on energy for almost half its budget revenue, has repeatedly said that its plans for future output will depend on cooperation with OPEC. The cartel’s production in October climbed to the highest level since 2016 as increases by Saudi Arabia and Libya offset losses from Iran, according to a Bloomberg survey.

Soviet Highs
Russian oil output peaked during the Soviet era, averaging 11.416 million barrels a day in 1987, according to BP Plc data. No monthly numbers are available, and the figures account differently for some liquids derived from natural gas. This would make it hard to pinpoint when exactly the country may set a new historic peak.

Maintaining current production levels is also not a given, especially since volumes can dip in the freezing winter months, and during summer-season maintenance.

Ministers from the so-called OPEC+ group, which brings together Russia, Saudi Arabia and other oil-producing nations, will meet in Abu Dhabi next week, ahead of a key summit scheduled for early December in Vienna.
Source: Bloomberg

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