April 2, 2018 / 7:55 AM / 23 days ago

UPDATE 2-Russian oil output hits 11-month high in March

    * Oil output up to 10.97 mln bpd in March vs 10.95 mln bpd
in Feb
    * First increase in Russian output since December
    * Highest production number after 11 mln bpd in April 2017
    * Saudi Crown Prince says OPEC, Russia work on long-term
alliance
    * Russia compliance with the global deal fell to 93.4 pct in
March

 (Adds energy minister's comments, detail)
    By Vladimir Soldatkin
    MOSCOW, April 2 (Reuters) - 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 totalled 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 totalled 65.68 billion cubic
metres (bcm) last month, or 2.12 bcm a day, versus 59.23 bcm in
February.

 (Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Susan Fenton)
  
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