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Russian gas exports down 56.7% to 26.4 bln cu m in Jan.-Apr.

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MOSCOW, June 8 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's natural gas exports to countries other than former Soviet republics declined 56.7%, year-on-year, in January-April 2009 to 26.4 billion cubic meters, the Federal Customs Service said on Monday.

Exports to the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), a loose association of former Soviet republics except the Baltic States, dropped 37.4% to 4.2 billion cubic meters, the Federal Customs Service said.

Overall, Russia exported 30.6 billion cubic meters worth $9.48 billion in the first four months of the year, the Federal Customs Service said.

The national statistics service Rosstat earlier reported that Russia's gas output declined 17%, year-on-year, in the first four months of 2009 to 198 billion cubic meters.

Natural gas production is expected to reach 620-644 billion cubic meters in 2009, with exports estimated at 190-196 billion cubic meters. Output grew 1.6%, year-on-year, in 2008 to 663 billion cubic meters, with exports at 174.3 billion cubic meters worth $66.4 billion.

Russia's crude oil exports to non-CIS countries were unchanged from January-April 2008 at about 67.49 million metric tons (494.7 million barrels) worth $20.96 billion, the Federal Customs Service said.

Crude oil exports to CIS countries grew 3.6%, year-on-year, in January-April 2009 to 5.87 million metric tons (43 million barrels) worth $1.52 billion, the Federal Customs Service said.

Overall, Russia exported 73.36 million metric tons (538 million barrels) worth $22.48 billion in January-April 2009, the Federal Customs Service said.

Russia's crude oil output (including gas condensate) contracted 0.5% in January-April 2009 to 160 million metric tons (1.17 billion barrels), Rosstat earlier reported.

Russia's Economics Ministry expects crude oil output to decline 1.1% in 2009 to 482 million metric tons (3.5 billion barrels) with exports to shrink 2.5% to 237 million metric tons (1.7 billion barrels).

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