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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Oil Exports Jump 8% In March

Oil exports via state pipeline monopoly Transneft rose by 8 percent in March 2003 after a February fall, while output hit another post-Soviet high, industry sources said Wednesday.

Oil production, booming for a fifth-straight year, rose to 8.17 million barrels per day compared with 8.1 million bpd in February. Exports rose by 260,000 bpd in March compared with February and reached 3.36 million bpd.

Industry sources said bad weather in the main ports had forced oil producers to curb output in the first three months of 2003, when their production was 100,000 bpd less than expected.

But they said a new government plan to boost supplies via the Druzhba pipeline to Central Europe in the second quarter should allow oil firms to regain their initial aggressive output growth pace and raise exports by at least another 100,000 bpd.

"I don't even remember when we last had such a good month in winter or spring," an Energy Ministry official said.

In March, weather disrupted loading for a total of only six days, including five in the Black Sea port of Novorossiisk and one in Lithuania's Baltic Sea terminal of Butinge, compared to more than 20 days in February or January.

Transneft carries more than three-quarters of Russia's total oil exports.

Traders estimate volumes leaving the country by rail and small ports and thus bypassing Transneft at 600,000 bpd and put real volumes of crude oil exported from and via Russia by all means and routes at around 4 million bpd.