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Is Russia Cheating On The OPEC Deal?

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Authored by Tsvetana Paraskova via OilPrice.com,

After three months of steady output, Russia’s crude oil production increased in March to 10.97 million bpd, the highest level since April 2017, as the top two Russian companies boosted their production.

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According to data by the Russian Energy Ministry, Russian oil production in March was 46.39 million tons, or 10.97 million bpd, up from 41.85 million tons in February, or 10.95 million bpd.

The March production level showed the first increase since December 2017, and is slightly above Russia’s quota in the production cut deal. Russia’s pledge in the OPEC/non-OPEC deal is to shave off 300,000 bpd from its October 2016 level, which was the country’s highest monthly production in almost 30 years—11.247 million bpd.

Last month, the two largest Russian oil producers, Rosneft and Lukoil, both raised their production by 0.1 percent compared to February, according to energy ministry data, carried by Reuters. On the other hand, production from projects under production sharing agreements (PSAs) dropped by 0.6 percent in March.

The Russian compliance with the OPEC/non-OPEC deal last month was at 93.4 percent, Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Monday, explaining the lower compliance with seasonality on the domestic market. Still, Novak reiterated that his country was committed to achieving the oil market rebalancing.

Earlier this month, Novak once again confirmed that Russia would continue to comply with the OPEC/non-OPEC deal until the end of this year and even into 2019 if need be.

Novak added, however, that Russia is also on board with an earlier end to the deal, should its partners decide it was the best course of action to follow.

The latest chatter coming from OPEC is that it is fully committed to erasing the global glut. In addition, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said last week that Saudi Arabia and Russia were looking to solidify their cooperation on crude oil production for another decade or two.

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