Russia pumps most oil since Soviet era as sanctions yet to bite

Russian President Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin

Russian oil production rose to a post-Soviet record last month, showing how pumping of the nation’s biggest source of revenue has so far been unaffected by US and European sanctions or a price collapse for the commodity.

The nation increased output 0.3% to 10.667 million barrels a day, according to preliminary data today e-mailed today by CDU-TEK, part of the Energy Ministry. The figure is for crude and condensates, an ultralight oil that yields a greater proportion of high-value fuels. Production averaged 10.58 million barrels a day for 2014, also a post-Soviet record.

The US and the European Union imposed sanctions against Russia last year in response to the country’s annexation of Crimea and what they say was support for separatists in eastern Ukraine. Measures included targeting the country’s energy sector by banning exports of some equipment and technology. Russia gets about half of its revenue from oil and gas taxes.

Brent crude, used to price about half of the world’s oil including Russia’s main export blend Urals, fell 0.2% today to $57.19 on the ICE Futures Europe exchange at 9:41 a.m. in London. Its 2014 peak was $115.71.

The previous post-Soviet oil production record was 10.64 million barrels a day in October, CDU-TEK data show. It rose above 11.4 million barrels a day in 1987, the Soviet-era peak, data from BP Plc show.

Preliminary data showed a decline in exports. The figures didn’t reflect shipments by Gazprom Neft and may be revised.