Rise in Russian Oil Output Supports Overstretched Budget
Despite record output, Russia's budget funding gap could reach some $300 billion between 2017 and 2020 should spending remain high and oil prices drop, according to the Finance Ministry's budget strategy to 2030.
That is three times the current value of the Reserve Fund, a rainy-day collection of windfall energy revenues.
Last year's budget was estimated to balance at an oil price of $110 per barrel and this year's at some $115 a barrel, Alfa Bank chief economist Natalia Orlova said.
That is dangerously close to or even higher than current prices for benchmark Brent crude, which stood at an average of below $110 in 2013 and are expected to remain under downward pressure in years to come due to a U.S. shale oil boom and a possible rise in exports from Iran.
Russian energy ministry data showed on Thursday that the country's oil output rose to a post-Soviet high of 10.51 million bpd in 2013, up almost 1.4 percent from 2012.
December's monthly production averaged 10.63 million bpd, also a post-Soviet high.
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