* Extension to OPEC-led cuts in focus amid high inventories
* Without extension, Russia's 2017 output may hit 551 mln T
* Rosneft ready to boost production if pact with OPEC lapses
By Vladimir Soldatkin
MOSCOW, April 24 Russian oil output could climb
to its highest rate in 30 years if OPEC and non-OPEC producers
do not extend a supply reduction deal beyond June 30, according
to comments by Russian officials and details of investment plans
released by oil firms.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, along
with Russia and other non-OPEC producers, pledged to cut 1.8
million barrels per day (bpd) in output in the first half of
With global inventories still bulging, Gulf and other
producers have shown increasing willingness to extend the pact
to the end of 2017. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait signalled last week
they were ready to prolong cuts.
Russia, whose contribution to the cuts was 300,000 bpd, has
yet to state publicly whether it wants cuts to run beyond June,
although Moscow was represented on a panel monitoring the pact
that on Friday recommended an extension.
But Russian officials have also indicated that local oil
companies were ready to push up output once the pact runs out.
"According to investment programmes of (Russian) companies,
it is possible Russian oil production will increase once the
deal expires," Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said,
adding firms had been held back while the deal was in place.
"If there are no restrictions, they will decide not to hold
back," he said, speaking at the weekend on the sidelines of an
economic conference in the East Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk.
He did not give figures, but Energy Minister Alexander Novak
told Reuters in March that output could reach 548 million-551
million tonnes a year in 2017, equivalent to 11.01 million-11.07
million bpd, the highest average since 1987.
In 2016, Russia produced about 547.5 million tonnes, or an
average of 10.96 million bpd.
Under the deal with OPEC, Russia was to cut production to
10.947 million bpd from 11.247 million bpd, the level achieved
in October 2016 that was the highest in the post-Soviet era.
Although Russia has not said publicly it wanted cuts
extended, Novak has said he would meet Russian oil companies
this month to discuss the issue. He also said an extension would
be discussed with OPEC on May 24.
Without an extension, Raiffeisenbank analyst Andrey
Polishchyuk forecast Russian output rising about 2 percent in
the second half of 2017 to a peak of about 11 million bpd.
"That's because we have new oilfields," he said.
Projects and statements by Russian firms also indicate they
are ready to increase output once restraints are lifted.
Russia's biggest oil producer Rosneft has said it
plans to boost output this year thanks to newly acquired
oilfields, including Kondaneft group of fields in Western
Siberia, the heartland of Russian production.
The company had targeted 2 percent annual output growth in
2015-2017. Without any acquisitions, that would push 2017
production to more than 214 million tonnes, or 4.3 million bpd.
Lukoil, the country's second-largest producer, has
said it sees its oil output rising slightly if the global deal
is not extended and could restore production to its pre-deal
level in three to four months.
Mid-sized producer Tatneft said it expected to increase 2017
output by 0.5 million tonnes a year, or about 10,000 bpd, if the
global production pact lapsed.
(Additional reporting by Olesya Astakhova in Moscow and Polina
Nikolskaya in Krasnoyarsk; Editing by Edmund Blair)