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22

Russia To Boost Oil Output

Russian oil output could peak at more than 510 million tons annually in 2010

Russian oil output could peak at more than 510 million tons annually in 2010, or 10.2 million barrels per day, Russian Industry and Energy Minister Victor Khristenko said on Monday, Mosnews.com reported.

?It will reach a certain plateau of production within the time frame of 2010,? Khristenko, quoted by the Reuters agency, told reporters. That plateau would be about 510 to 520 million tons a year, he said, or the equivalent of about 10.2 to 10.4 million barrels per day.

In September, Russia produced 9.53 million barrels per day, which was a post-Soviet high, according to Energy Ministry data.

Khristenko said Russia aims to achieve annual output of 500 million tons by 2008-09.

On his first U.S. trip as industry and energy minister, Khristenko met with President George W. Bush and senior administration officials including U.S. Energy Secretary Sam Bodman and Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez.

Analysts say that Russia?s growth will continue for a few more months as oil firms ramp up production, including Exxon Mobil?s massive Sakhalin project. Russia?s oil production has stagnated since growing 9 percent in 2004 and a record 11 percent in 2003.

The country is chasing Saudi Arabia?s title as the world?s top crude oil producer. Saudi Arabia pumped 9.6 million barrels per day of crude oil in September, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. But unlike the Middle East?s oil giant, which chooses not to pump at full capacity, Russia is keen to see production hit record highs. Saudi Arabia has a surplus capacity of up to 1.4 million barrels per day, according to the EIA.