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    Russia overtakes Saudi Arabia as world oil production leader - paper

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    Russia produced more oil and less gas than Saudi Arabia in 2009 and is now the world's biggest oil producer, a Russian business daily said on Thursday

    Russia produced more oil and less gas than Saudi Arabia in 2009 and is now the world's biggest oil producer, a Russian business daily said on Thursday.

    Kommersant daily quoted BP's 2009 annual fuel and energy report as saying that global oil consumption saw its strongest decline since 1982 (down 1.7 percent year-on-year.)

    BP CEO Tony Hayward said the report reflected long-term changes in the world's energy patterns and a trend towards more eco-friendly energy sources.

    The report showed that while the oil extraction in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) saw a 7.3 percent decrease, Russia, Brazil, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan increased their oil output.

    Russia increased its output to 1.5 percent against the 10.6- percent-decline of Saudi Arabia and is the new leader in the sector. The United States occupy the third position in the world oil output with a 7 percent increase to 7,196 million barrels per day.

    However, Russia fell from the top spot in gas production, which saw a 12.1 percent decrease in 2009.

    Experts say it is unlikely that Russia will retrieve its status as the top gas producer as Europe will hardly increase its demand for Russian gas.

    Vitaliy Kryukov of Russian private investment fund IFD Kapital said global energy demand is dramatically low this year. He says this is caused by the debt crisis in Europe and Chinese efforts to slow the economy to avoid overheating.

    Kryukov said in the longer term, gas demand will overtake demand for other energy sources, especially in China, where natural gas will begin to replace coal.

    MOSCOW, June 10 (RIA Novosti)

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