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Russia could move quicker on oil production declines
by Daniel J. Graeber
Moscow (UPI) Feb 2, 2017

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

Russia could move quicker than expected on trimming oil production under the terms of an OPEC-led agreement, the country's energy minister said Thursday.

Russia joined other oil producers in an effort from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to pull markets back into balance after a glut brought crude oil prices to historic lows in early 2016. OPEC agreed to cut a collective 1.2 million barrels per day from its production and non-members agreed to about half that. Russia accounts for the lion's share of the non-OPEC production cut with 300,000 bpd.

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said companies so far have signaled they'll implement the agreement.

"It is possible that they will be [implemented] at a faster pace," he was quoted by Russian news agency Sputnik as saying. "It depends first of all on the companies themselves, on the investment policy."

Russia last year was producing oil at or near post-Soviet highs. According to the economists at OPEC, Russian oil companies were winning out because a decline in the value of the ruble made it economic to produce more oil for more revenue.

Non-OPEC oil supply last year was buoyed by "higher-than-expected growth in Norway, Russia and the United States," OPEC said. For 2017, non-OPEC oil supply is expected to increase only marginally on the back of small declines from Russia.

Government data from December show crude oil production was 347.4 million barrels, up 3.5 percent year-on-year. Total crude oil production for the year was 2.5 percent higher than 2015.

Novak in December said representatives from 12 oil companies in the country agreed to work together to monitor the terms of an agreement.

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