Russia boosted oil production in October

Russia saw its crude oil and condensate production rise in October for a second consecutive month as it increased output under the OPEC+ agreement to ease the collective production cuts.

Total crude and condensate production at the leader of the non-OPEC countries in the OPEC+ deal rose by 1.1% from September to stand at 10.843 million barrels per day (bpd) in October, according to Bloomberg estimates based on data from the Russian energy ministry.

However, Russia’s condensate production—estimated at around 800,000 bpd-900,000—is not part of the OPEC+ production cuts, so it’s not easy to assess how much crude oil Russia is really pumping.

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The energy ministry’s data does not discriminate between crude oil and condensate production, so the market and analysts assess crude output by estimating condensate production levels.

Per Bloomberg calculations, if Russia pumped in October the September volumes of condensate of around 910,000 bpd, Russian crude production was 9.93 million bpd, or 120,000 bpd above the October quota.

Last month, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said that Russia was pumping 9.9 million bpd of crude oil in October, but had the capacity to increase production to up to 11.4 million bpd. Russia’s oil production in October will be 9.9 million bpd, as Moscow is aligning its output with the OPEC+ agreement, Novak said in the middle of last month.

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Russia expects its crude oil plus condensate production to return to pre-pandemic levels by May 2022, Russian officials, including Novak, have said in recent months.

As per the latest quota distribution of the OPEC+ group, Russia has a ceiling of 9.913 million bpd for November—the same as OPEC’s de facto leader and top producer, Saudi Arabia.

The energy ministers of the OPEC+ alliance are meeting on November 4 to decide output quotas for December, amid pressure from consuming nations—including the United States—to increase supply to the market by more than the 400,000 bpd monthly additions they have agreed to so far.

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