October 21, 2016 / 10:31 AM / 3 years ago

Russia eyes record-high oil output, but sticks to 'freeze' option

UFA (Reuters) - Russia will produce 548 million tonnes (11 million barrels per day) of oil next year, a post-Soviet record, however Moscow still wants global producers to curb production amid weak prices, Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Friday.

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak attends the 15th International Energy Forum Ministerial (IEF15) in Algiers, Algeria September 27, 2016. REUTERS/Ramzi Boudina

Russia, the leading oil producer, expects the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to find common ground on capping oil production. OPEC is to hold its regular meeting in Vienna on Nov.30.

Before that, Novak will make several trips, including to Saudi Arabia this weekend and to Vienna next week.

He said he would take “some” proposals to a meeting with his Saudi counterpart and he believed an oil output freeze was still necessary.

He declined to provide any further details on the proposals.

Asked about the need for an oil output freeze, he said: “Yes, this is our main position, it has not changed.”

Novak said that he will discuss coordination on oil markets with OPEC Secretary General Mohammed Barkindo next week.

NEW RECORD

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that Russia will join leading global oil producers in curbing production.

Russia’s output jumped by almost 4 percent in September from the previous month to 11.11 million barrels per day, setting a new post-Soviet record-high, as companies ramped up drilling amid improved oil prices.

Russian officials have said that Moscow would rather freeze oil output than cut, but the level is yet to be agreed. Top Russian oil companies such as Rosneft, Gazprom Neft and Lukoil are launching new fields in 2016.

According to Rosneft Chief Executive Igor Sechin, Russia has the potential to further increase oil output by up to 200 million tonnes a year, or 4 million barrels per day.

Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin, writing by Denis Pinchuk; editing by Katya Golubkova and Jason Neely

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