16 Nov 2009 13:13

Energy Minister forecasts Russian oil production in 2010 to remain at current level

MOSCOW. Nov 16 (Interfax) - Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko forecasts that oil production in Russia in 2010 will remain at the current level.

"I can't say there will be optimistic growth, but I think that it will remain at the same level," Shmatko told journalists on Monday.

The Energy Ministry has said previously that oil production in 2009 might amount to 492 million-493 million tonnes, 0.8% more than in 2008.

Shmatko stressed that oil companies would provide the Energy Ministry will their final investment programs only in December 2009. "In December, oil companies should agree on and present investment program but we expect them to be optimistic since oil prices are substantially better than they were at the end of last year," he said.

He added that the ministry ties the optimistic mood with a forecast increase of investment programs and the introduction of new oil fields.

Deputy Energy Minsiter Sergei Kudryashov said that investment in oil production in 2010 would equal the level of 2008 or even higher. This is partially possible owing to government measures to support the sector, he said. Investment geological exploration in 2010 will remain at the level of 2009 he said, adding that total exploration could reduced next year.