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Thursday, February 05, 2009

Russia reports decline in oil, gas output

MOSCOW, Feb. 4, 2009 (UPI) -- Russian oil output fell to 300 million barrels in January while natural gas production followed, falling to 1.9 trillion cubic feet, the Energy Ministry said. The declines represent about a 1 percent decline in oil output and roughly 13 percent for natural gas. Exports, meanwhile, declined by 2.3 percent for oil and nearly 75 percent for natural gas, RIA Novosti reported Wednesday. Russia blamed the decline in natural gas exports on the gas row with Ukraine. Ukraine hosts 80 percent of the natural gas bound for Europe. Disputes in January halted those supplies for weeks. Russian energy monopoly Gazprom claimed the dispute cost the company $2 billion in revenue. Russian finance officials, however, noted prices for the Russian benchmark Urals blend of crude oil beat January estimates of $41 per barrel to finish the month at $42.80. The Russian Energy Ministry had reported in January crude oil production declined 0.7 percent to 9.74 million barrels per day in 2008. December totals fell 2.1 percent to around 815,000 bpd. The Energy Ministry reports come amid January claims from Russian oil major Rosneft, which forecast a 2 percent increase in oil output, or roughly 2.25 million bpd.

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