VIENNA, September 16 (RIA Novosti) – Western sanctions are not affecting the Russian oil industry as a whole and nothing is preventing Russia from maintaining the current level of oil and gas production, Abdalla Salem el-Badri, Secretary General of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) told RIA Novosti Tuesday.
"So far we don't see any effect of sanctions on the Russian oil industry. I don't speak of companies but of oil industry in general," el-Badri said following a meeting with Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak.
"There is nothing concrete to prevent Russia from producing the same quantity of oil and gas," el-Badri added.
The OPEC Secretary General noted that the organization is not concerned by the partial reorientation of Russian energy supplies from European to Asian markets.
Last week, the European Union and the United States introduced new sanctions against Russia that target a number of key Russian banks as well as oil and defense companies and ban the provision of technical and other assistance to Russian oil companies.
In view of Western sanctions, Russia has started shifting its energy supplies to the Asia-Pacific region.
On September 3, Novak said Russia could double its oil and gas sales to Asia-Pacific countries in the coming years.
Russian oil supplies to the region currently stand at about 50 million metric tons, while gas supplies amount to around 14 billion cubic meters. According to Novak, the oil supplies could double and the gas supplies could reach 200-300 billion cubic meters.
On September 1, the construction of the 3,000-kilometer (1,860-mile) Power of Siberia pipeline was launched in Yakutia. According to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the new gas pipeline will significantly strengthen Russia's economic cooperation with the governments of the Asia-Pacific region, particularly with China.
Russia's Power of Siberia gas transmission system is designed for delivering gas from the Irkutsk Region and Yakutia gas production centers further eastward to Russia's Far East and China.
In May, Gazprom and China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) signed a 30-year agreement on the annual export of around 38 billion cubic meters of Russian gas to China.