Preliminary data for December from the Energy Ministry pegged Russian oil production at 10.48 mb/d, remaining at November's post-Soviet era high and up y/y by 0.16 mb/d (see Figure 3). The increase was led by Rosneft (due to increases at the Vankor oilfield) and Gazprom (driven by the expansion of its assets in the Orenburg region), with y/y production increases of 0.07 mb/d a piece.
Over 2012, Russian oil production averaged a record high 10.38 mb/d, higher y/y by 0.11 mb/d (1.1%), with the largest contribution coming from Rosneft (higher y/y by 0.05 mb/d), largely due to the increases in the Vankor field, where output hit 0.367 mb/d by year end. Lukoil's production, meanwhile, declined by 20 thousand b/d y/y across 2012, while TNK-BP's output was flat, although the last three months have seen y/y decreases due to the step up in decline rates in its western Siberia fields, particularly Orenburg and Samotlor.
Russia's crude exports, however, fell again in December. Russian exports through pipelines fell by 2.7% m/m and 6.5% y/y to 3.98 mb/d, as pipeline maintenance curtailed volumes. Across 2012, exports via pipeline have averaged just 20 thousand b/d higher y/y. Moreover, loading data for January shows Russia further boosting exports to Asia at the expense of Europe. In Q1, Transneft volumes are set to decline by 1.6% q/q, while volumes on the ESPO pipeline are set to rise by 3.7% q/q, curtailing availability of Urals grade for the Mediterranean refineries.
Meanwhile, final data for November pegged Kazakhstan's liquids output at 1.68 mb/d, down y/y by 13 thousand b/d, as declines in the older fields weigh on output. Azerbaijan, too, continues its long uphill battle with the ACG field, which accounts for approximately 75% of the country's output. However, November output of 0.81 mb/d represents the first y/y increase in Azeri output since March 2011, following the completion of maintenance work. The start-up the 0.1 mb/d West Chirag ACG field in Azerbaijan is still on track for Q4 13 and should help to counteract some of the natural declines.
On the demand front, following the completion of heavy refinery maintenance, November refinery runs in Russia picked up to a record high of 5.623 mb/d, higher y/y by 0.5 mb/d, with gasoil production seeing the sharpest increase. Refineries in Kazakhstan also increased their output, to above 0.3 mb/d, higher y/y by 42 thousand b/d (see Figures 29-42).
As a result, November FSU product exports increased substantially, by 0.35 mb/d m/m and 0.27 mb/d y/y, to 2.89 mb/d. Gasoil exports saw the strongest rebound, higher y/y by 0.16 mb/d. We expect December product exports to remain high, given the return of refineries, although crude oil exports are likely to remain curtailed overall as domestic demand remains strong, evident in record high refinery runs across the region.