Russia leaves door open to OPEC deal even as output hits high

martes 2 de febrero de 2016 08:40 GYT

* Russian oil output at post-Soviet high of 10.88 mln bpd
    * OPEC Jan production highest in its recent history
    * Russia to launch new fields in 2016

    By Olesya Astakhova and Katya Golubkova
    NIZHNEVARTOVSK/MOSCOW, Feb 2 (Reuters) - Two senior Russian
officials talked up potential cooperation with OPEC to prop up
prices, but data showed oil production in Russia hit a
post-Soviet high in January, suggesting the world's top producer
was locked in a fierce struggle for market share.
    Russia has in the last week sent mixed signals about
possible cooperation with OPEC to support prices. It first
suggested it should start talking to OPEC before saying there
was no decision to do so. 
    On Tuesday, the pendulum swung the other way again.
    Top oil producer Rosneft, after its head Igor
Sechin met Venezuelan oil minister Eulogio Del Pino, said the
two men had discussed possible join efforts to stabilise global
oil markets. 
    Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also said Moscow was open to
further cooperation in the oil market with OPEC and non-OPEC
    Despite the rhetoric, preliminary data from the Energy
Ministry on Tuesday showed Russia was actively ramping up
production adding to a global glut.  
    Production hit another post-Soviet high last month of 10.88
million barrels per day (bpd), up from 10.80 million bpd in
December, the data showed.      
    OPEC production also jumped to its highest in recent history
in January as Iran increased sales after the lifting of
sanctions and rivals Saudi Arabia and Iraq also boosted supply,
a Reuters survey showed last week. 
    That suggests an intensifying battle for market share, a
trend that runs counter to growing speculation about some kind
of coordinated output cut. 
    "I very much doubt there will be any success in coordination
-- there is no consensus inside OPEC itself," said Alexander
Kornilov, a senior oil and gas analyst with Aton in Moscow.
    According to Tuesday's data, Russia extracted 46 million
tonnes of oil and gas condensate last month, up 0.7 percent from
45.69 million tonnes in December. The increase was fuelled by
Gazprom Neft, Bashneft, Novatek 
and projects under production sharing agreements. 
    Gas production was at 61.94 billion cubic metres (bcm) last
month, or at 2 bcm a day.      
    "The growth was expected from Novatek, Bashneft and Gazprom
Neft and I believe this trend will continue in the near future.
Lukoil was the only one who actively cut drilling, while the
picture was the opposite for others," said Kornilov. 
    On Monday, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak met
Venezuela's Del Pino, who is visiting OPEC and non-OPEC
countries to try to drum up support for joint action to prop up
low crude prices. 
    Both discussed the possibility of holding joint
consultations between OPEC and non-OPEC countries in the near
future, the Russian Energy Ministry said. 
    Novatek, co-owned by its CEO Leonid Mikhelson, President
Vladimir Putin's ally Gennady Timchenko and France's Total
, started to pump oil at the Yarudeyskoye field last
month at its full capacity of 3.5 million tonnes a year. 
    Gazprom Neft, the oil arm of state gas producer Gazprom
, plans to start two new major oil projects, Novoport
and Messoyakha later this year. That should help cover declines
at other Russian brownfields countrywide. 
    Meanwhile, at the Samotlor field in Western Siberia, still
one of the world's largest and which produced over 3 million bpd
alone at its peak in the 1980s, drilling is under way to
maintain production, a senior official told Reuters. 
    One of Rosneft's largest fields, Samotlor, produced 21
million tonnes of oil last year. 
    "The key task for 2016 is to stabilise production. All the
programmes have already been approved," Valentin Mamayev, chief
executive of Samotlorneftegaz, told Reuters. 
    He added that Samotlor plans to drill 227 new wells this
year, twice as many as in 2014. "If we produce 20 million tonnes
a year, this (Samotlor) could last for the next 50 years
minimum," Mamayev said.

 (Additional reporting by Denis Pinchuk; Editing by Andrew
Osborn and David Evans)