The populist Russian newspaper, Komsomolskaya Pravda, ran the headline yesterday: “Russia takes first place in oil output rankings”. The story was based on OPEC figures showing that Russia is now extracting more oil than Saudi Arabia. The figures reflect a trend stretching back as far as 2002, but are being hailed by Russia as evidence that its production spikes are not one-offs and it is really the world’s No 1 oil producer.
According to Opec, Russia extracted 9.236 million barrels of oil a day in June, 46,000 more than Saudi Arabia. The statistics also showed that Russian production in the first half of this year increased to 235.8 million tons, a year-on-year improvement of 2.3 per cent.
Traditionally, Saudi Arabia has always been regarded as the world’s undisputed primary source of oil with Russia in second place. But not any more. However, Russian analysts concede that Moscow’s cause is helped by the fact that Saudi Arabia is subject to Opec output restrictions. But for now Russia is enjoying its oil bonanza: According to Alexei Kudrin, the Russian Finance Minister. “At present, we are in a dangerously carefree zone,” he said recently.