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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russian Oil Exports Rise To Clients Who Can Pay

Russia exported 12 percent more oil outside the former Soviet Union in the first seven months of the year than it did in the same period in 1993, and one top official said the exports would rise further.

Fuel continues to make up the bulk of Russia's exports, an important source of hard currency for the struggling economy.

Many of Russia's clients in the former Soviet Union are verging on insolvency and owe hundreds of billions of rubles for fuel.

According to state statistics reported Tuesday by Interfax, crude oil exports from January through July were 51 million tons outside the former Soviet republics, a 12 percent increase.

In July alone, exports totaled 7.5 million tons, slightly above the pace set in the first half of the year of 7.25 million tons a month.

Natural gas exports outside the former Soviet Union also were up, by 15 percent over the seven-month period from a year earlier, to 63 billion cubic meters, the report said.

To other former Soviet republics, however, shipments of gas and crude oil fell sharply over that period, the report said.

Crude oil deliveries fell 33 percent to 18 million tons.

Shipments of natural gas were down 10 percent to 46 billion cubic meters.

Oleg Davydov, minister of foreign economic relations, was cited by Itar-Tass as saying Russia will step up oil exports by as much as 20 percent this year.

He conceded that Russia's oil-transport system is operating at capacity, but added that new routes through Ukraine and the Baltic states could possibly open the way to higher shipments.