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Russia's oil output, exports may exceed expectations

Moscow, July 25 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's oil production and exportation levels in 2005 may turn out higher than predicted, an Economy Ministry official told a press conference here Monday.

Andrei Klepach, in charge of a department at the Economic Development and Trade Ministry, said the year's output of Russian crude oil is now expected to reach 474 million tons, 4 million more than his ministry's most recent forecast. Projected crude exports are also up, put at 269 million tons, or 6 million more than the earlier estimate.

The increase in the projected oil export figures stems from the fact that the amounts of oil shipped by rail and sea have proved underestimated, Klepach said.

The ministry has also reestimated its oil price forecasts, raising the projected average annual price of Urals crude to $47-$48 per barrel in 2005, $40 in 2006, $35 in 2007 and $36 in 2008.

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