MOSCOW Russian oil production in December stood unchanged at 11.21 million barrels per day (bpd), flat month on month and at its highest in almost 30 years, energy ministry data showed on Monday.
Russia is preparing to cut output by 300,000 bpd during the first half of 2017 as a part of a global pact with OPEC aimed at rebalancing the market.
Oil prices ended at $56.82 last year, more doubling from lows hit early last year.
In tonnes, production rose to 47.402 million in December from 45.884 million in November.
In 2016 in total, output reached 547.499 tonnes, or 10.96 million bpd, up from 10.72 million in 2015. <O/RUS1>
According to preliminary data, which excludes some producing units at some firms, output month on month was slightly down at Rosneft, including Bashneft, and at Gazprom Neft.
Lukoil, Tatneft and production-sharing agreements showed an increase.
The Russian energy ministry has said that its planned output reduction would be gradual as production cannot be cut abruptly due to weather and technological conditions.
"Russian producers have significantly increased drilling over 2016 in efforts to stem field decline," Toril Bosoni from the International Energy Agency told Reuters.
"While little information on the duration of production cuts has been made public, provisionally we assume that output will rise gradually again during the second half of 2017."
For 2017 as a whole, the Russian energy ministry forecasts oil production at 548-551 million tonnes, or 11.01-11.07 million bpd.
Natural gas production in Russia in December rose to 66.38 billion cubic meters (bcm), or 2.14 bcm a day, from 62.59 bcm in November.
(Reporting by Katya Golubkova and Vladimir Soldatkin; editing by Jason Neely)