* Russian oil exports down as domestic refinery output up
* Russia to ramp up eastbound oil exports
By Vladimir Soldatkin
MOSCOW, Jan 13 Russian pipeline monopoly Transneft said it expected to cut crude oil exports by more than 1 percent this year to 225 million tonnes (4.5 million barrels per day) due to an increase in domestic production of refined products.
Russia has been cutting oil exports, despite an overall increase in crude output, as its refineries have embarked on a $55 billion modernisation programme to produce better quality products.
Transneft Chief Executive Nikolai Tokarev said on Monday that Russian refineries had increased product output by 9 million tonnes last year.
"And this is not the end of it. The rise in refining output products will continue," he told a briefing.
He declined to present a more detailed breakdown of the planned destination of exports, saying that "it is a sensitive matter".
Russian oil exports declined by 2.5 percent to 228.5 million tonnes in 2013, according to Energy Ministry data.
The increase in Russian oil refining volumes and a rise in exports of diesel and gasoline have already hit cash-strapped refineries in Europe.
Meanwhile, top Russian oil producer Rosneft last year agreed to almost triple crude supplies to China in the coming years from more than 300,000 bpd currently. The deal sent ripples through the trading community and raised fears that Russian oil exports to the West would contract.
Last year, eastbound flows of Russian oil, away from saturated European markets, rose by almost a fifth to 740,000 bpd.
Tokarev said the trend of Russia supplying less oil to Europe was already apparent but declined to elaborate.
Tokarev said Transneft expected Russian oil producers to increase crude supplies to its pipeline system, for both domestic and export destinations, by 4 million tonnes to 485 million tonnes in 2014.
Transneft receives around 95 percent of all oil produced in Russia into its pipeline system.
Tokarev said the Black Sea port of Novorossiisk may export an additional 35 million tonnes of oil products per year (750,000 bpd) by 2020 thanks to the construction of new product pipelines from several refineries, including a Volgograd refinery owned by Russia's No.2 oil producer Lukoil.