Russia overtakes Saudi Arabia as largest oil producer


Russia remained the world’s largest oil producer in January, according to new statistics from the Russian Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat) on Tuesday.

The country’s daily output averaged 10.764 million barrels, while Saudi Arabia pumped out 9.946 million daily over the same period. Usually the two countries’ output stays above the 10-million-barrel mark, but Saudi’s commitment to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to rebalance the global market caused the nation’s production to slip.

OPEC’s deal with eleven NOPEC nations, including Russia, will bring oil output down by 1.8 million barrels per day for the first half of this year, at least. New reports suggest the bloc favors extending the cuts – providing all original parties to the agreement renew their commitments as well.

Six out of 10 oil analysts polled by Reuters believe that OPEC will extend its deal for another six months. "If OPEC is genuinely pursuing an inventory target, then an extension to current supply restraint is needed," BNP Paribas analyst Harry Tchilinguirian said last week.

The coordinated global effort to curtail oil supply has so far managed to put a floor under oil prices, which have been sitting modestly above $50 since the deal was announced at the end of November last year. But resurging U.S. shale has been capping the upside, and Brent has not breached $58 per barrel. Analysts and experts are now mostly predicting that oil prices will remain below $60 this year.

The last time the KSA was ahead of Russia was in November, when production stood at 10.625 million barrels per day, on top of Russia’s 10.424 million.

The 2017 average barrel price for Russian crude has risen to $51.77 a piece, compared to a $30 rate in January of last year.

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