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Russian Crude Production Plunges by nearly 9% in April, OPEC+ Data Shows

  • Monthly output drops nearly 9% in April
  • Steepest fall since shortly after collapse of Soviet Union
  • But higher oil prices boost Moscow's revenue

LONDON, May 17 (Reuters) - Russian crude output in April fell by nearly 9% from the previous month, an internal OPEC+ report showed on Tuesday, as Western sanctions on Moscow following its invasion of Ukraine hit the top oil producer.

Russia's oil output stood at 9.16 million barrels per day (bpd) in April, according to data from secondary sources collated by OPEC+, down about 860,000 bpd from March and nearly 1.2 million bpd below its OPEC+ ally Saudi Arabia's output.

That is the steepest fall in the country's output since the one that unfolded after the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1990s and has left Russian production 1.28 million bpd below the level required under an oil production cut agreement between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, a group known as OPEC+.

Despite missing production targets and selling barrels at a discount, the recent surge in crude prices pushed Moscow's oil and gas revenue to 1.81 trillion roubles ($27.92 billion) in April, compared to a total 2.97 trillion roubles for the first three months of the year, according to the finance ministry.

European Union members are negotiating a proposed oil embargo on Russia, but talks failed this week because of a veto from Hungary, which is heavily reliant on Russian oil imports.

The ban proposed by the European Commission in early May would be its harshest sanction yet in response to Moscow's Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine but also includes carve-outs for EU states most dependent on Russian oil.

Meanwhile, Russia has boosted sales of oil to China and India as it grapples with Western sanctions on its financial sector and a standoff over its demand that EU countries pay for energy in roubles. 

Moscow may see its oil production plummet by as much as 17% in 2022, an economy ministry document seen by Reuters showed last month, as the country struggles with the sanctions. 

Moscow calls its invasion of Ukraine a "special military operation" to rid the country of fascists, an assertion Kyiv and its allies say is a baseless pretext for an unprovoked war.

Overall, OPEC+ produced 2.6 million bpd below its targets in April, the data showed, with overall compliance with cuts rising to a record 220% from 157% the previous month.

West African producers Nigeria and Angola, which have been struggling in recent years with capacity constraints, produced 413,000 bpd and 290,000 bpd below targets, respectively, in April, the data showed.

Editing by Louise Heavens; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

Source: Reuters


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