Surgut Sees Output Flat

Surgutneftegaz, the country's No. 4 oil firm, expects oil output to remain flat this year because of an expected delay in the launch of the country's first oil pipeline to China, a company official said Wednesday.

Deputy general director Vyacheslav Nikiforov said the firm expected to keep oil output steady this year at about 64 million to 65 million tons (1.3 million barrels per day), although he did not rule out that output could be as much as 2 million tons below last year's level.

He also said the country was unlikely to make deep tax cuts on oil production and that its output would probably stagnate.

"My guess is there will not be a significant reduction in taxes," Nikiforov said, adding that rates "should be lowered" to boost production.