UPDATE 1-Russian Feb oil exports slump, output stagnates

Mon Mar 3, 2008 12:30am GMT

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(Adds more figures, gas production after para 2)

MOSCOW, March 3 (Reuters) - Russian February oil exports slumped to the lowest level since 2004 as record-high crude export duties forced oil firms to re-route volumes to domestic refineries, while output stagnated for a second month in a row.

Energy Ministry data showed on Monday that February oil production was 9.79 million barrels per day, almost unchanged from 9.78 million bpd in January, while pipeline exports to Europe fell to 3.99 million bpd from 4.28 million in January.

Oil firms have long complained that very high taxation is damaging their investment and they cannot develop new fields to support production, which grew by more than 60 percent since 1999.

Year-on-year production was down 0.7 percent from 9.86 million bpd Russia produced in February 2007.

Traders said high export duties were the key reason behind the pipeline export decline, but also noted that they were hit by a pricing dispute between oil major LUKOIL (LKOH.MM) and a monopoly importer of Russian crude to Germany, Sunimex.

Germany gets oil via the Druzhba pipeline and the data showed supplies fell to 1.17 million bpd from 1.24 million bpd in the previous month and the lowest level since July 2007, when LUKOIL had a similar dispute with Sunimex.

To read a story click on [ID:nL1838291]

Deliveries via Russia's largest Baltic Sea port of Primorsk fell to 1.35 million bpd, also one of the lowest levels in the past year.

Outside the system of pipeline monopoly Transneft, exports from Exxon Mobil Corp's (XOM.N) De Kastri Pacific terminal edged down further in February to 213,000 bpd from 220,000 bpd in January.

Production from Exxon's Sakhalin-1 project is set to decline this year from its peak of 250,000 bpd last year due to field depletion. Its partner in the project, oil firm Rosneft (ROSN.MM), has said output may fall by as much as 25 percent.

Gas production by Russian gas export monopoly Gazprom (GAZP.MM) was flat on a daily basis at 1.67 billion cubic metres. The company produced 48.38 bcm in February, which was 29 days long, versus 51.62 bcm in January.

For Russian oil statistics stories click on [O/RUS1]

For Russian oil data clock on <OILSTAT/RU> (Reporting by Dmitry Zhdannikov; editing by Braden Reddall)

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