* Cuts target mainly newest fields
* Can restore output quickly
* Preserving output from mature fields
By Vladimir Soldatkin and Katya Golubkova
MOSCOW, May 23 Russia's Rosneft is
ready to resume full oil output quickly once OPEC-led cuts end
as the country's top producer has focused its own cuts on newer
fields, its chief executive has said.
Those cuts run until June 30, though oil ministers from OPEC
and non-OPEC countries meeting in Vienna this week are expected
to agree to extend a deal that has seen 22 countries reduce
global output by 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) since January
"Restrictions (under the OPEC deal) are mainly applied to
greenfields," Rosneft Chief Executive Igor Sechin told reporters
last week, referring to newer oil fields.
"We will maintain mature fields as they are and won't cut
production there," he said. "Our priority will be maintaining
Mature fields require the pumping of gas or liquid to
increase crude flows and once that is halted, it takes time to
restore the pressure. That is less of an issue at new fields,
where the flow rate is usually higher.
STRUCTURE OF CUTS
Rosneft, the world's top listed oil company by output,
accounts for around 40 percent of Russia's crude production.
It has targeted its cuts at its Tagul, Suzun and Vankor
fields in the so-called Vankor cluster which is relatively new,
among other sites, according to a source familiar with the
matter who did not want to be identified.
The cuts did not touch mature units such as Yuganskneftegaz,
Rosneft's largest, the source said.
A company quarterly report in May showed that production
fell at nearly all of Rosneft's fields, both mature and newer,
compared to the fourth quarter of 2016.
However, the source said that in the case of mature fields
such as Yugansk, production was affected by unusually cold
weather, not deliberate steps to lower output.
"As part of the (OPEC and non-OPEC) deal, Rosneft has cut
its production at new projects, while the company's strategy is
aimed at development of mature fields," Rosneft said in emailed
comments to Reuters.
"This allows for boosting the efficiency of brownfields
development, increase production at West Siberia fields and to
raise greenfields' output in the shortest time once the pricing
According to energy ministry data, which excludes some
Rosneft units, the company's average output in April was down by
116,000 bpd compared to October, the reference month for the
Russia promised a total cut of 300,000 bpd.
Rosneft, which produced an average of 4.62 million bpd in
January-March, saw output in the first quarter fall by 12.5
million barrels or 2.9 percent from the previous three months.
At other Russian oil companies, cuts in production have come
primarily from mature fields, industry sources said.
But they said steps were being taken so that output could be
ramped up as quickly as possible.
Mid-size oil company Russneft, whose shareholders include
commodities trader Glencore, has mainly mature fields.
It told Reuters in emailed comments that one or two months would
be enough to get back to previous production levels.
A geologist working with a major Russian oil company, who
did not want his name or the name of his employer published,
said the output cuts were mainly done at high-rate wells where
production could be restored in around a month.
Russian oil companies often drill high-rate wells at mature
fields in a bid to maintain or, where possible, increase
"If it wasn't for the restrictions (on global output), we
would now not be at October levels... but higher," a
high-ranking oil industry executive said. "We have not just
simply cut, we are losing the growth momentum."
Russia ramped up its output to an all-time peak of 11.247
million bpd in October, with output for the month averaging
11.23 million bpd.
(Additional reporting by Oksana Kobzeva and Olesya Astakhova;
editing by Katya Golubkova and Jason Neely)