LUKoil crude output up 2.2% in 9M07 to 72.7 mln tons

MOSCOW, November 2 (RIA Novosti) -- LUKoil [RTS: LKOH], Russia's largest independent crude producer, said Friday its crude output in the first nine months of the current year rose 2.2% year-on-year, to 72.7 million tons.

LUKoil Group's (subsidiary companies and LUKoil's share in output by affiliated companies) total oil production available for sale totaled 2.18 mln barrels of oil equivalent (boe) per day in the first nine months of 2007, up 43,000 boe per day year-on-year.

Natural and associated gas output available for sale was 9.95 bcm, which is 0.4% less than in the first nine months of 2006.

The company said production growth rates were affected by the sale at the end of April of a 50% stake in Caspian Investments (former Nelson Resources), engaged in hydrocarbon exploration and production in Kazakhstan, as well as by the limitations imposed by Gazprom on natural gas intake.

Output at the company's own refineries in Russia grew by 9.5% year-on-year, to 31.51 mln tons, due to expansion and modernization of LUKoil's refining capacity, as well as high refinery margins in Russia.

Despite a temporary decrease in refinery outputs due to a scheduled turnaround at the Burgas refinery, production at its own foreign refineries remained almost unchanged and totaled 7.13 mln tons in nine months of 2007. LUKoil refined 38.64 mln tons of crude at the company's own refineries in Russia and abroad, up 7.6% year-on-year.

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