* 2012 crude output averaged 10.37 million barrels per day
* Dec production edged down to 10.48 million bpd
* Daily gas production in December rose 10.4 pct to 2.12 bcm
* IEA sees Russia's oil production declining by 100,000 bpd
* Russia's exports nudged down 0.3 pct, supplies to East
By Vladimir Soldatkin
MOSCOW, Jan 2 More crude from state-owned top
producer Rosneft kept Russian oil output the highest
in the world last year, ahead of Saudi Arabia, Energy Ministry
data showed on Wednesday.
Crude output edged up almost 1 percent to a new post-Soviet
high of 10.37 million barrels per day (bpd), but the increase
could halt this year due to depleted oil fields in West Siberia.
Russia, whose proceeds from oil gas constitute around half
of budget revenues, aims to keep its crude production at no less
than 10 million bpd until 2020.
The Kremlin has increased its share in the oil industry to
over 50 percent after top oil producer Rosneft
clinched an agreement to acquire Anglo-Russian TNK-BP
for around $55 billion in a cash-and-stock deal.
After the acquisition, expected to be completed in the first
half of this year, Rosneft will become the world's largest
listed oil producer with hydrocarbon output of some 4.6 million
barrels of oil equivalent per day.
In tonnes, Russia's crude production was 518.018 million last
year, the ministry said, up from 511.432 million tonnes in 2011,
which was one day shorter than 2012.
In December, Russia's oil production edged down to 10.48
million bpd from 10.50 million in November, a post-Soviet high.
Rosneft reported one of the largest rises in crude output
among the Russian oil majors last year, with an increase of 2.3
percent to 117.473 million tonnes (2.4 million bpd) on a daily
basis thanks to increased production at its East Siberia's
Vankor field to 367,000 bpd.
LUKOIL, Russia's second-largest oil producer, saw
a 1 percent decline in domestic output, to 84.620 million
LUKOIL has tried to increase its exposure to overseas oil
deposits as it has been unable to offset a production decline at
its mature West Siberian oilfields. It owns 75 percent of Iraq's
huge West Qurna-2 deposit.
Saudi Arabia has restrained its output to steady oil prices,
which reached a record high last year.
Brent crude averaged over $111 a barrel in 2012,
the highest on record. The international benchmark gained 3.5
percent for the year, after rising 13.3 percent in 2011.
The windfall has helped oil production in Russia, where the
extent of the crude output rise surprised many analysts. Moscow
hopes the momentum will continue with so-called tight oil,
hidden in layers of rock.
However Russia has yet to follow the United States in
deploying advanced horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing
technologies, which is known as fracking, on a commercial scale.
Last month, Rosneft has agreed with ExxonMobil to tap
the shale oil in West Siberia.
DECLINE IN 2013?
The International Energy Agency (IEA) expects non-OPEC
supplies to grow by 900,000 bpd to 54.17 million bpd in 2013,
taking total consumption up to an average of 90.52 million bpd,
while production in Russia will decline.
"We expect Russia's crude production to be lower by around
100,000 barrels per day in 2013 mainly because brownfield
production declines should outpace greenfield supply growth,"
IEA's supply analyst Michael Cohen told Reuters.
Brownfield, or established, oil production in Russia
accounts for over 80 percent of total output.
Vienna-based JBC energy consultancy expects Russian oil
production to remain flat this year.
"We see Russian total oil output virtually unchanged this
year as more widespread EOR (enhanced oil recovery) application
and an increase in output in recently developed fields
compensate for the declines in the mature fields," it said.
The far-flung deposits of East Siberia are viewed as vital
in offsetting declining production in West Siberia. Last month,
Russia completed an expansion of its Asian oil pipeline to the
Pacific port of Kozmino, filled by crude from East Siberia.
Russia has been steadily increasing its crude exports to
Asia at the expense of deliveries to Europe. It shipped 16.3
million tonnes to Kozmino this year, 1.1 million up compared to
Next year, exports via Kozmino will rise further, to around
21-22 million tonnes.
The ministry data also showed that Russia's total oil
exports via oil pipeline monopoly Transneft and
other routes edged down 0.3 percent to 234.3 million tonnes last
The oil resources at Russia's offshore fields - estimated at
100 billion tonnes of oil equivalent - are also seen as the next
source of domestic oil production. Most are in the Arctic where
only state-owned companies, such as Rosneft, have access.
Daily gas production jumped 10.4 percent, month-on-month, to
2.12 billion cubic metres (bcm) in December thanks to a rise in
Production for 2012 declined to 1.79 bcm from 1.84 bcm in
2011 on a daily basis. Gas output from Gazprom, the
world's leading producer, decreased in 2012 to 1.31 bcm a day
from 1.4 bcm in 2011 as Europeans used cheaper alternatives such
as liquefied natural gas (LNG) and spot market supplies.
Output at Russia's second-largest gas producer, Novatek
, fell to 51 bcm from 53.3 bcm in 2011.
The ministry expected gas production to increase in 2013 to
1.87 bcm a day, or a total 683 bcm, although a 1.2 percent lower
than previously seen.
The data for 2012 gas exports was not yet available.