Russia’s 2012 Oil Output Hits Post-Soviet High


By Dmitry Zaks

World energy power Russia said on Wednesday that its 2012 oil output hit a post-Soviet record high level while natural gas production declined amid stalling European sales.

The mixed figures — highlighted by a dip in oil exports outside ex-Soviet territories — point to lingering problems in a sector that accounted for 49% of all budget revenues in 2011.

It also remains instrumental to President Vladimir Putin as he assumes a third term in power having made social promises aimed at calming the first wave of dissatisfaction with the Kremlin since Soviet times.

The Russian energy ministry’s reporting unit said oil and gas condensate production grew by a healthy 1.3% last year to reach a new record of 518.0 million tonnes (10.40 million barrels per day).

Russia had established its previous post-Soviet high in 2011 when output stood at 10.28 million barrels per day.

Its post-Soviet low came in 1994 when daily output slumped to 6.0 million barrels — less than half of the 12.4 million barrels Russia and 14 other republics produced as part of the Soviet Union in 1988.

Investment helped production in the late 1990s. The government focused on a still-evasive strategy to diversify the economy and shed Russia’s dependence on the global price of oil.

The current output rate outpaces that of Saudi Arabia and clinches for Russia the title of the world’s biggest oil producer.

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