More crude from state-owned top producer Rosneft kept Russian oil output  the highest in the world last year, ahead of Saudi Arabia, Energy Ministry data showed.
Crude output edged up almost 1 per cent to a new post-Soviet high of 10.37 million barrels per day (mbpd), but the increase could halt this year due to depleted oil fields in West Siberia. Russia, whose proceeds from oil gas constitute around half of budget revenues, aims to keep its crude production at no less than 10 mbpd until 2020.
The Kremlin has increased its share in the oil industry to over 50 per cent after top oil producer Rosneft clinched an agreement to acquire Anglo-Russian TNK-BP for around $55 billion in a cash-and-stock deal. After the acquisition, expected to be completed in the first half of this year, Rosneft will become the world’s largest oil producer with hydrocarbon output of some 4.6 million barrels of oil equivalent per day.
In tonnes, Russia’s crude production was 518.018 million tonnes (mt) last year, the ministry said, up from 511.432 mt in 2011, which was one day shorter than 2012. In December, Russia’s oil production edged down to 10.48 mbpd from 10.50 million in November, a post-Soviet high.
Rosneft reported one of the largest rises in crude output among the Russian oil majors last year, with an increase of 2.3 per cent to 117.473 mt (2.4 mbpd) on a daily basis thanks to increased production at its East Siberia’s Vankor field to 367,000 bpd. Lukoil, Russia’s second-largest oil producer, saw a 1 per cent decline in domestic output, to 84.620 mt. Lukoil has tried to increase its exposure to overseas oil deposits as it has been unable to offset a production decline at its mature West Siberian oilfields.
It owns 75 per cent of Iraq’s huge West Qurna-2 deposit. Saudi Arabia has restrained its output to steady oil prices , which reached a record high last year. Brent crude averaged over $111 a barrel in 2012, the highest on record. The international benchmark gained 3.5 per cent for the year, after rising 13.3 per cent in 2011.