Russian crude production fell nearly 9% in April, OPEC + data show

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LONDON – Russia’s crude output fell nearly 9% in April from a month earlier, according to an internal OPEC + report on Tuesday, as Western sanctions on Moscow hit top oil producers after Ukraine’s invasion.

Russia’s oil production in April was 9.16 million barrels per day (bpd), about 860,000 bpd lower than in March and its OPEC + ally Saudi Arabia’s output is about 1.2 million bpd lower, according to data from secondary sources collected by OPEC +.

It is the biggest drop in the country’s production since the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1990s, and has pushed Russian production below the required level of 1.28 million bpd under an agreement between oil companies to reduce oil production. And its allies, a group known as OPEC +.

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Despite the lack of production targets and the sell-off of barrels, the recent rise in crude prices pushed Moscow’s oil and gas revenues to 1.81 trillion rubles ($ 27.92 billion) in April, up from a total of 2.97 trillion rubles in the first three months of the year, according to the finance ministry.

EU members are discussing a proposed oil embargo on Russia, but talks have failed this week because of Hungary’s veto, which relies heavily on Russian oil imports.

The embargo, proposed by the European Commission in early May, will still be Moscow’s toughest in response to its February 24 aggression on Ukraine, but includes carvings for EU states that depend on Russia’s oil.

Russia, meanwhile, has stepped up oil sales to China and India as it struggles with Western sanctions on its financial sector and has stagnated demands of European Union countries to pay for fuel in rubles.

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Moscow could cut its oil production by as much as 17% in 2022, an economy ministry document seen by Reuters last month showed, as the country struggles with sanctions.

Moscow has called its invasion of Ukraine a “special military operation” to liberate the country from the fascists, a claim Kyiv and its allies say is a baseless pretext for an unpleasant war.

Overall, OPEC + produced 2.6 million bpd from its target in April, the data shows, compliance with the overall decline increased to a record 220% from 157% in the previous month.

West African producers Nigeria and Angola, which have struggled with power constraints in recent years, produced 413,000 bpd and 290,000 bpd lower than the target in April, respectively, the data shows.

(Edited by Louis Heaven; edited by Kirsten Donovan)

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