Russian liquids output growing slowly

  • Market: Condensate, Crude oil
  • 15/12/21

Russian crude and condensate output increased by less than 0.3pc in the first two weeks of December compared with the daily average in all of November, suggesting producers are edging closer to the limits of spare capacity after restoring much of the production cut under the Opec+ deal.

Liquid hydrocarbons production was 1.489mn t/d on 1-14 December, according to preliminary data from the energy ministry's CDU-TEK information agency cited by state-run news agency Tass. Liquids production was 1.485mn t/d in November, the ministry said at the start of this month. Using a 7.3 bl/t conversion factor, this puts output at 10.87mn b/d in the first two weeks of December, or 30,000 b/d above November.

Liquids output rose by 40,000 b/d in November from October, to 10.84mn b/d. Crude production was 9.94mn b/d in November, up by 30,000 b/d from October and above Russia's November Opec+ quota by the same amount, Argus estimates.

The rate of production growth has slowed in November and December compared with the August-October period, when Russia pushed output up by around 100,000 b/d each month and exceeded its quota by nearly the same amount, according to Argus calculations.

The Opec+ agreement puts limits on crude output but does not restrict condensate production. Russia's crude quota is 10.02mn b/d for December, and will rise to 10.12mn b/d in January. The February quota will be set after the Opec+ group's meeting on 4 January.

Russia produced 10.5mn b/d of crude in the early months of 2020, before Covid-19 took hold globally, according to energy ministry data. Total liquids production was 11.3mn b/d in the first four months of that year, before the start of the current Opec+ deal.

Russia's largest private-sector oil producer Lukoil said in November it still had 30,000-40,000 b/d of spare capacity that it expects to be on stream by late January or February 2022. State-controlled Rosneft and Gazpromneft are even closer to the limit of what they can add. Rosneft said last month it brought on line all of its spare capacity in the third quarter, and Gazpromneft said it had almost none left.

The scale of any further crude production growth next year will depend on the productivity of new wells, including those drilled this year, according to several major Russian oil firms.


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