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Russia Overtakes Saudi Arabia in Oil Output in December

© REUTERS / Sergei KarpukhinA worker checks the valve of an oil pipe at the Lukoil company owned Imilorskoye oil field outside the West Siberian city of Kogalym, Russia, January 25, 2016
A worker checks the valve of an oil pipe at the Lukoil company owned Imilorskoye oil field outside the West Siberian city of Kogalym, Russia, January 25, 2016 - Sputnik International
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Russia's oil output overtook Saudi Arabia's in December 2015, rising to some 10.3 million barrels per day, the Russian Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat) said Friday.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — In December, Russia's crude oil output increased from November's 10.01 million barrels per day to 10.327 million barrels per day, while the Saudi output fell from 10.145 million barrels daily in November to 10.088 million barrels per day in December, Rosstat said in a news release.

Khaled al Otaiby, an official of the Saudi oil company Aramco watches progress at a rig at the al-Howta oil field. - Sputnik International
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Russia's output was also above Saudi Arabia's in October, with 10.359 million and 10.147 million barrels per day respectively, according to the service. The total output by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) member states amounted to 32.182 million barrels per day in December, over half a million in excess of its 31.5-million barrel production ceiling set on December 4.

Russian oil exports have also been increasing, with December 2015 exports amounting to 22.2 million metric tons, which is over 17 percent above December 2014 levels, according to Rosstat.

The total 2015 output came to 244.5 million tons, over 9 percent above 2014 levels. At the same time, the level of oil processing fell, dropping nearly 3 percent between 2014 and 2015.

By December, Russia's main Urals crude benchmark fell to 56.6 percent compared to December 2014, according to the statistics service.

Both Russia and Saudi Arabia may freeze output at January 2016 levels throughout 2016, provided the Doha deal is finalized in March. The move aims to stem the fall in global oil prices, which plunged from $115 per barrel to $48.5 per barrel between June 2014 and January 2015. The Brent crude benchmark has fluctuated between $30 and $35 per barrel since early January.

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