Russia has ample spare capacity to raise crude production if the oil market requires, the country's Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said Oct. 14, citing a historical peak in output of 11.3 million to 11.4 million b/d.
Russia's crude production targets under the OPEC+ accord are 9.809 million b/d in October and 9.913 million b/d in November, though it has regularly pumped in excess of its quota.
S&P Global Platts estimated Russian crude output at 9.86 million b/d in September, according to the latest survey of OPEC+ production, down from 10.63 million b/d in April 2020, the month before the alliance instituted historic cuts to combat the effect on oil prices of the pandemic.
"I do not see any problems in terms of increasing production. We just need to proceed from the current market situation," said Novak, who manages Russia's OPEC+ relations, at the Russian Energy Week conference. "We have enormous resources, not only of traditional oil, but also hard-to-recover oil. If additional volumes are required, we will be able to ensure the development of such deposits."
Russia and nine other producing countries have cooperated with OPEC since 2017 on a series of production cuts to prop up the market -- most notably an accord to slash an unprecedented 9.7 million b/d in spring 2020 during the initial coronavirus-related price crash.
With the global economy rebounding from the pandemic, those cuts are on pace to be completely unwound by late 2022, with the alliance lifting quotas by 400,000 b/d each month.
The International Energy Agency, in its closely watched oil market report, raised its demand forecasts for both 2021 and 2022 due to increases in mobility trends, as well as a gas supply crunch that has prompted some power plants to switch feedstock to oil liquids.
Deputy Energy Minister Pavel Sorokin had told an industry conference earlier in October that while Russian spare capacity was sufficient, due to the more technical nature of its reserves, the country is not as flexible in bringing production on- and offline as some of OPEC's core Gulf members.
"We reduced our output back in 2020 after the pandemic started [and] we, of course, have all that...spare capacity," he said. "But beyond that we also need to drill, and we believe we can come close to the target levels that have been announced."