* September oil output at 10.41 mln bpd vs 10.38 mln bpd in August
* Gas output rises 15 percent to 1.67 bcm
* PSA output up 5.6 percent
* Oil output at TNK-BP falls almost 1 pct in Sept vs Aug
MOSCOW, Oct 2 (Reuters) - Oil projects, led by foreign majors under production sharing agreements (PSA), propelled Russian crude output, already the world’s largest, to a new post-Soviet record high in September, Energy Ministry data showed on Tuesday.
Russia’s oil output edged up 0.3 percent in September compared with August to reach 10.41 million barrels per day (bpd), encouraged by oil price increases.
In tonnes, Russia’s crude production stood at 42.59 million last month, the ministry said. The country is set to increase oil production this year to 514-515 million tonnes from 511 million tonnes in 2011.
On Tuesday, Economy Minister Andrei Belousov said that Russia’s oil production is likely to remain roughly unchanged through to the end of this decade, while exports would be squeezed by rising domestic demand.
Oil production under PSA - a scheme designed in the 1990s - rose 5.6 percent in September, month-on-month, to 1.1 million tonnes. PSA projects include Sakhalin-1 - involving Rosneft, ExxonMobil, ONGC, and Sodeco, Sakhalin-2 - involving Gazprom, Shell, Mitsui , and Mitsubishi as well as and Kharyaga - involving Total , Statoil, and Zarubezhneft.
“The main contributor to the growth were PSA where production of gas condensate increased due to seasonality. It’s not immediately clear where exactly the output increased, they don’t disclose the data separately for now,” Sergey Vakhrameyev, analyst with IFC Metropol said.
Production at the troubled Anglo-Russian venture TNK-BP, half-owned by BP, declined almost 1 percent in September as production ramp-ups at new fields failed to offset output declines at mature West Siberian deposits.
BP has put its 50 percent stake in TNK-BP up for sale amid a spat with the AAR consortium of Soviet-born billionaires who own the other half of the venture. Some top managers, including the chief oil trader, have quit TNK-BP amid the standoff.
“It’s not immediately clear if the production decline is directly connected to the conflict. But if the management is leaving the company, this, of course, has a negative impact on production,” Vakhrameyev said.
Russia’s oil output stayed above the 10 million bpd pumped by Saudi Arabia last month, while total OPEC crude production has fallen in September because of reduced exports from Angola and Nigeria, despite pledges to ramp up output to stem price rises.
Prices for Brent blend hovered above $112 per barrel, a level seen as unbearably high by the oil-consuming countries, where economies have been suffering from expensive commodities.
Russia and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries are keen to bolster their ties in the face of increased oil price volatility.
Russia’s daily gas production jumped 15 percent, month-on-month, to 1.67 billion cubic metres (bcm), due to a spike in seasonal demand, while gas output at Gazprom increased by 17 percent to 1.2 bcm.