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In Rare Call, Russia Seeks To Convince Western Analysts It Is Cutting Oil Output

Russian Deputy Energy Minister Pavel Sorokin sought to convince Western analysts that Russia is indeed reducing its oil production by 500,000 barrels per day as pledged earlier this year during a rare call with analysts this month, sources familiar with the call told Reuters on Thursday.

Russia warned in February that it would cut its crude oil production by 500,000 bpd due to EU import bans and price caps on its crude oil and oil products. Initially, Russia said this lowered production would apply to March. But Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak announced part way through March that the cuts would be extended.  

Those 500,000 bpd cuts will now extend until the end of 2023, Russia announced on the day on which other OPEC+ producers, mostly from the Middle East, announced a shock new production cut of a combined 1.16 million bpd between May and December 2023.

Last week, Novak said that Russia was fulfilling its pledge to cut output by 500,000 bpd.

“Taking into account the unfounded speculation in the press regarding oil production levels, Russia reaffirms its full commitment to and implementation of voluntary oil production cut levels,” Russia’s top oil man said in a statement carried by Reuters.

Speculation indeed abounds, considering that tanker-tracking data suggests that Russian crude oil shipments by sea are rising.

Russia itself has stopped reporting oil statistics since it invaded Ukraine in early 2022.

During the call with Western analysts earlier this month, Sorokin discussed Russia’s oil production.

“The call was about Russia reaching its target level of output in April,” one of Reuters’ sources said. 

Earlier this week, tanker-tracking data monitored by Bloomberg showed that Russia’s crude oil exports by sea hit a new high of 3.55 million bpd in the four weeks to May 5, the highest shipments since at least early 2022.

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By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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