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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

LUKoil Retains Its No. 1 Spot

LUKoil in 2003 retained its position as the country's largest oil producer after rival Yukos fell short of its target for full-year output.

Yukos on Wednesday confirmed Energy Ministry data saying its oil output was up 16.3 percent in 2003 to 80.8 million tons (1.62 million bpd), slightly behind its initial 82 million-ton target. Yukos' main rival LUKoil said last week that it produced 81.5 million tons of oil in 2003, including all affiliates and subsidiaries.

The two firms will be running neck-and-neck this year for the No. 1 position in the industry as Yukos is planning to boost output by 10 percent, while LUKoil revised its forecast upward to between 6 percent and 7 percent from the previous 4.3 percent.

LUKoil increased output by roughly 2 percent to 81.5 million tons last year.

In 2002, LUKoil produced 79.14 million tons versus Yukos' 69.33.

Yukos said it exported 61 percent of its output in 2003, one of the highest ratios in the industry, as high oil prices made rail and river shipments profitable.

The company said in a statement that exports outside Russia, including deliveries to the firm's Mazheikiu refinery in Lithuania, rose 33.6 percent year-on-year to 49.2 million tons.

Refined products exports also rose 15.1 percent to 11.9 million tons, excluding sales from Mazheikiu.

The Energy Ministry data, released in January, showed Yukos exported 29.6 million tons of oil via state pipeline monopoly Transneft, meaning 40 percent of total exports left the country by alternative transportation means, such as rail and river.

Investors watch the ratio between output and exports closely as it shows the firms' ability to generate higher cash on more profitable Western sales.

Also on Wednesday, LUKoil said it plans to invest 34.5 billion rubles ($1.2 billion) by 2020 to explore for oil and gas in the northwest.

The oil giant holds 95 licenses to northwest fields that contain 486.1 million tons (3.6 billion barrels) of recoverable reserves.

(Reuters, Bloomberg, MT)