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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russia Keeps Export Vow to OPEC

Russia in January appeared to make a real effort to curb exports in line with Moscow's promise to help OPEC support world oil prices, supply data reported Monday showed, Russian traders and analysts said.

The data, from a source close to the Energy Ministry, put exports of Russian oil at 2.59 million barrels per day in January, slightly higher than a schedule drawn up for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries of 2.54 million bpd for the first quarter, the source said.

The figure compared with December 2001 crude deliveries of 2.52 million bpd and fourth-quarter exports of 2.54 million bpd, or 150,000 bpd lower than the initial schedule set for that period. Supplies then were hit by severe weather at export terminals. In the third quarter, Russia exported 2.61 million bpd of its own crude.

Analysts said Monday's figures seemed to show Russia was making efforts to stick to its word, a departure from the past, when it promised oil cuts to OPEC but still pumped at full capacity.

"The mathematics of the Russian cut are difficult to understand, but we know at least that the government did not approve any additional volumes for exports in January," said Vladislav Metnyov, an oil analyst for Renaissance Capital.

Traders agreed.

"There was spare capacity at [the Latvian port of] Ventspils and on the German Druzhba route. Firms lobbied for extra shipments but Transneft ordered a halt on those routes," said one Western dealer.

Russia said in December it would join in OPEC's price support efforts in the first quarter of 2002 and cut exports by 150,000 bpd, or 5 percent.

OPEC ministers have been worried that Moscow would find ways around its commitment.