Russia plans to boost crude oil exports from the ExxonMobil-led Sakhalin-1 project to between 260,000 to 266,000 barrels per day (bpd) in the third quarter after major oil producers agreed to lift production at the end of June, industry sources said on Monday.
The exports include 10 to 11 cargoes of Sokol crude to be lifted in July and 12 cargoes scheduled to load in August and September, three sources with knowledge of the matter said. Each cargo is 700,000 barrels.
Sokol crude exports averaged at 215,000 bpd in second quarter, with 9 to 10 cargoes exported each month.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-OPEC producers including Russia agreed in June to ease a supply-cut agreement to make up for supply shortfalls as exports from Venezuela, Libya and Iran have declined.
The group agreed to raise oil output by 1 million bpd of which Russia’s share stands at 200,000 bpd.
ExxonNeftegaz, ExxonMobil’s subsidiary in Russia, said production rates may vary throughout the year but they remain within the annual average approved by the authorities.
ExxonMobil had planned to raise output from Sakhalin-1 to 260,000 bpd at the start of this year but it was ordered by Russian authorities to cap its output at 200,000 bpd.
Sakhalin-1 operates under a Production Sharing Agreement struck in the mid-1990s and all plans must be approved by the local government.
The project is capable of increasing Sokol crude exports from the De-Kastri terminal on Russia’s Pacific coast to 13 to 14 cargoes a month if not for the cap, one of the sources said.
The rise in Russian Sokol supplies has depressed the grade’s premium to Middle East benchmarks Oman and Dubai to the lowest in nearly a year amid ample supplies of light crude and lower demand during refinery maintenance season.
(Reporting by Florence Tan in SINGAPORE; Additional reporting by Olesya Astakhova in MOSCOW; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)