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Russia's Oil Output Rose

It was produced 40.186 million tons of crude oil only in December

Russian oil production rose 2.4 percent in 2005 compared to a year earlier and reached 470.196 million tons or 9.44 million barrels per day, according to the Industry and Energy Ministry.

This is the highest level of Russian production since 1991, it was produced 40.186 million tons of crude oil only in December, a 3.4 percent rise on the same period of 2004.

However, overall growth in oil production slowed in 2005 from earlier years, after concerns raised by the Yukos affair and a sharp rise in taxation weighed on investments in the sector. Experts warn that if Russian oil companies fail to invest considerable funds in geological exploration and drilling, Russian oil output will begin to decline as early as this year.

In the period 2000-2004, Russia saw an annual rise in production levels of 8.5 percent, following a sharp drop between 1991 and 1998 following the collapse of the Soviet Union.