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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Transneft Hits New Record

Oil exports via the state pipeline monopoly Transneft rose by 230,000 barrels per day in March from February to an all-time high of 4.09 million bpd, the Energy and Industry Ministry said Friday.

This was the first time Transneft's shipments have topped 4 million bpd, the ministry's monthly data showed.

Russian oil output also continued to boom, rising 11 percent in the first three months of the year, compared with the year-ago period, Interfax reported, citing the ministry.

Output rose to 110.4 million tons (8.89 million barrels per day) of oil and gas condensate in the first quarter, the news service reported without providing the year ago figures. Russia produced 37.86 million tons of oil in March, it said.

The boost in exports came mainly due to good weather at the main Black Sea ports used by Russia and further expansion of the flagship Baltic Sea port of Primorsk.

Traders said the world's No. 2 oil exporter would boost shipments further in April after another upgrade at Primorsk.

"Shipments at Primorsk will definitely ease after winter restrictions on ice-class tankers are lifted," said a Moscow-based trader with a Western major.

"Overall exports will jump from May after river navigation opens on both southern and northern routes," said another dealer. In March, Russia's key Black Sea port of Novorossiisk exported 4.66 million tons or 1.1 million bpd, the first time shipments went above 1 million bpd only on Transneft deliveries without accounting for crude coming by rail. It exported 938,000 bpd in February.

Primorsk exported 3.56 million tons or 841,000 bpd in March compared to 733,000 bpd in February. Transneft wants to tranship as much as 860,000 bpd through the port in April and gradually boost its capacity to 1 million bpd later this year.

Deliveries of Russian crude to central Europe via the Druzhba pipeline slightly decreased in March, but re-exports from the Polish port of Gdansk rose to 846,000 tons (200,000 bpd) from 769,000 tons (195,000 bpd) in February.

February was two days shorter than March.