LUKoil Expects Fall in 2008 Production

LUKoil, the country's second-largest oil producer, has revised 2008 production forecasts to a decline of around 3 percent, president Vagit Alekperov said Friday, RIA-Novosti reported.

The forecast of a decline in LUKoil production comes after a previous estimate of slight growth or at least flat output, the news agency said.

When asked by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin about production forecasts for 2008, Alekperov said, "up to 94 million tons of oil and 16 billion cubic meters of associated gas," the report said.

Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko said earlier Friday that he expected the country's oil production to be at least flat this year, despite a drop of almost 1 percent in the first half of the year.

Shmatko said he was confident that production would grow next year as new projects came on stream. In May, Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin said he was certain that Russia would see output growth for 2008. (Reuters, MT)