Oil Growth Seen Slowing to 1.8%

Russian oil output growth will fall this year below 2 percent for the first time since 1999, because of a lack of greenfield developments, stagnation at mature Siberian fields and rising capital costs, a survey showed.

A Reuters survey of 15 analysts and officials found on average that production would rise by 1.8 percent to slightly over 10 million barrels per day for the first time since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

"Russian production volume growth is likely to be between zero and 1 percent this year -- something we have not observed since the late 1990s," said Vadim Mitroshin from Credit Suisse, who gave one of the most conservative forecasts.

"With little variations, we expect this picture to be largely unchanged in the next two-three years, until Russia completes the East Siberia-Pacific Ocean pipeline, which is likely to make development of new fields in eastern Siberia more attractive," he added.

The world has long relied on Russia for incremental oil supply as the country's contribution amounted to over half a million bpd in some years.

But reliance has shifted back to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries in recent years as growth slowed in western Siberia and Moscow said production had reached a plateau.

Last year, production rose by 2.3 percent, a notch up from 2.2 percent in 2006, but much lower than huge spikes in previous years.