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Russian oil output hits 11-month high in March

Russia’s oil output edged up in March to an 11-month high of 10.97 million barrels per day (bpd), slightly above a limit agreed under a global supply pact, energy ministry data showed on Monday.

It was the first increase in Russian output since December and the highest level since output of 11 million bpd in April 2017.

Under an agreement by members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other producers that came into effect last year, Moscow pledged to cut output by 300,000 bpd from a baseline of 11.247 million bpd based on its output in October 2016.

The Energy Ministry said that in March it cut output by around 280,220 bpd from the October 2016 level.

“Russia reached the production cuts compliance (with the OPEC deal) of 93.4 percent. The fluctuations of the liquid hydrocarbons in March were due to a high demand for gas and seasonality on the domestic market,” Energy Minister Alexander Novak said in a statement.

“Russia is fully committed to reaching the balance on the oil market,” he added.

Russian output in March rose from 10.95 million bpd in February. In tonnes, it totaled 46.39 million versus 41.836 million in February.

Russian oil pipeline exports in March stood at 4.163 million bpd, slightly up from 4.162 million bpd in February.

The current global supply deal lasts until the end of 2018.

OPEC states, Russia and several other non-OPEC producers agreed to cut supplies from January 2017 to lift oil prices that plunged from above $110 a barrel in 2014 to below $30 in 2016. Oil is currently traded just below $70 per barrel.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told Reuters that Riyadh and Moscow were considering a deal to greatly extend the short-term alliance on oil curbs.

The Kremlin has said Russia and Saudi Arabia have been discussing a “wide range of options” on cooperation in the global oil market.

According to the energy ministry data, Russia’s largest oil company Rosneft and No.2 producer Lukoil both increased their output by 0.1 percent last month from February.

Output at Production Sharing Agreement (PSA) projects declined by 0.6 percent in March as plans for an output rise at the ExxonMobil-led Sakhalin-1 project have been delayed.

Russian natural gas production totaled 65.68 billion cubic meters (bcm) last month, or 2.12 bcm a day, versus 59.23 bcm in February.

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