Slight Increase in Annual Oil Output Expected

Russia expects to produce 304.8 million metric tons (6.12 million barrels per day) of crude oil by the end of 1999, the Fuel and Energy Ministry's central dispatch unit said in a statement Wednesday.

This would be approximately 1 million tons (20,000 bpd) more than in 1998. Nine oil companies, LUKoil, Yukos, Sidanko, Tyumen Oil Co., Surgutneftegaz, Tatneft, Rosneft, Slavneft and Bashneft were expected to produce more crude oil than originally planned.

By the end of the year, Russian refineries are expected to have processed 170.4 million tons (3.42 million bpd) of crude, an increase of 7.2 million tons (145,000 bpd) on the previous year.

Crude exports to the "far abroad" - the Russian expression for countries outside the former Soviet Union - are expected to reach 113.5 million tons (2.28 million bpd), with a further 18.5 million tons, or 370,000 bpd, going to the "near abroad."

Russian crude oil pipeline monopoly Transneft expects to have carried some 11 million tons of crude in transit for Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan this year.

The statement said deliveries of oil products had been made in full, including to the army fighting in Chechnya.

"Considering the complicated internal political situation in the North Caucasus, it is worth mentioning that there have been no complaints over product deliveries from such consumers as the Ministry of Defense or the Ministry of the Interior."