Russia Produces Most Oil Since August as OPEC+ Plans Meeting Sooner

Oil and gas condensate output in Russia rose to 11.28 million barrels per day (bpd) in January, from 11.26 million bpd in December, Reuters reported on Sunday, citing data from the country’s Energy Ministry.

This is in line with what sources told Reuters last week and the highest since it reached 11.29 million bpd in August. In tons, oil output rose to 47.72 million versus 47.63 million in December. Reuters uses a 7.33 conversion ratio in its calculations when converting tons to barrels.

Gas condensate, a light oil, has been excluded from Russia’s production quota in the global OPEC+ pact aimed at curbing oil production and balancing out the energy markets.

On Sunday, it was reported that OPEC and its allies considered how to respond to a plunge in oil prices, with Russia signaling for the first time it was open to Saudi Arabia’s push for an emergency meeting.

If OPEC and its allies were to agree on an early meeting, history suggests it may result in further action to defend prices. The last hastily-convened gathering, in Algiers in late 2016, is where the OPEC+ coalition was first created. At the previous emergency meeting, in 2008, the group reduced output as the global financial crisis slashed demand.

“Nothing concentrates a producer’s mind more than the prospect of a crude oil price bust,” said Bob McNally, president of Rapidan Energy Group in Bethesda, Maryland, and former White House oil official under President George W. Bush.

For days, the kingdom has been pressing to bring forward a meeting of the coalition, as the threat to demand from Asia’s coronavirus pushes prices to a six-month low. Russia has been rebuffing the requests, and even on Friday said more time was needed to assess the situation, yet added it was willing to convene and even act if needed.

“In principle, we’re ready to react on such things,” Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Friday. “But for that we need to assess the situation more accurately, monitor how it will develop in coming days.”

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