May 2, 2012 / 6:51 AM / in 7 years

UPDATE 2-Russia's April oil output dips slightly

* Oil output 10.33 mbpd down from 10.36 mbpd

* Gazprom behind the fall with cuts in condensate output

* LUKOIL crude production also fell

* Daily gas production declined to 1.87 bcm from 2.0 bcm (Adds detail, analyst comments)

By Vladimir Soldatkin

MOSCOW, May 2 (Reuters) - Russian oil production edged down 0.3 percent to 10.33 million barrels per day (bpd) in April, to its lowest this year, after Gazprom trimmed output due to a refinery maintenance closure, energy ministry data showed on Wednesday.

So far this year output had stood at a post-Soviet monthly high of 10.36 million bpd.

In tonnes, the ministry said that crude output in Russia, currently the world’s top producer, stood at 42.29 million last month and was still ahead of 10.0 million bpd pumped last month by Saudi Arabia, which has spare capacity to produce an extra 2.5 million bpd.

“This is all down to Gazprom, which cut its condensate production in April by 6 percent from March,” Nomos Bank analyst Denis Borisov said.

Gazprom cut back on production of condensate - very light crude which is close to gas - as its Astrakhan refinery at the Caspian Sea stood idle in April due to regular maintenance.

Russia’s second-largest crude producer LUKOIL showed a decline of 0.56 percent production decline due to continuous problems at its new Northern oilfield of South Khylchuyu.

The company expects its crude output to be stable this year after it fell by around 5 percent to 90.7 million tonnes last year..

Russia is aiming to maintain oil production over 10 million bpd - its key source of budget revenues along with gas exports - to 2020 and is making forays into new untapped regions, such as offshore Arctic and East Siberia. It expects to increase crude production by around 1 percent this year from 10.27 million bpd, or 511 million tonnes, produced in 2011.

The Vankor oilfield in the Arctic, owned by Russia’s top crude producer Rosneft, continued to ramp up its production, which increased by 0.5 percent in April, month-on-month. Rosneft’s total output remained flat.

Daily gas production decreased to 1.87 billion cubic metres (bcm) in April from 2.0 bcm in March due to declining seasonal demand. Output at Gazprom, the world’s largest natural gas producer declined to 1.39 bcm last month from 1.52 in March. (Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Lidia Kelly and William Hardy)

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