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Russia Holds Oil Output Near Post-Soviet Record in February

Russian Oil WellMarch 2 (Bloomberg) -- Russia, the world's largest oil producer, kept crude output near a post-Soviet record in February, at 10.23 million barrels a day.

That was 0.2 percent higher than a month earlier and 1.5 percent higher than the same month last year, according to statistics from the Energy Ministry's CDU-TEK data unit.

Russian crude exports advanced to 5.28 million barrels a day, rising 2 percent from the previous month and 1.1 percent from February of last year, according to the statistics.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin pledged that Russia's oil production will remain above 10 million barrels a day for at least a decade, after reaching a post-Soviet high of 10.27 million in October. Putin ordered the government to create tax incentives so that companies will invest in new projects.

Russia's Soviet-era crude output peaked at 11.48 million barrels a day in 1987, according to BP Plc data.

Gains by OAO Gazprom, projects run under production sharing agreements with Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Exxon Mobil Corp. and Total SA, and smaller producers offset monthly declines by Russia's two largest oil producers, OAO Rosneft and OAO Lukoil.

Lukoil's production fell 0.6 percent from the previous month and 5.3 percent from a year earlier. The Moscow-based company said last year that its 2011 domestic oil output may fall this year.

State-controlled Rosneft pumped 0.5 percent less oil than in January, while boosting production 2.4 percent from February of last year. Rosneft's figures do not include its Tomskneft venture with OAO Gazprom Neft.

Natural-gas output declined to 2.04 billion cubic meters a day in February, 0.7 percent lower than the previous month and 1 percent down from a year earlier, according to the statistics.

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