Russia's Gazprom Neft to Delay Novoportovskoye Oilfield Launch


MOSCOW, April 19 (Reuters) - Russian oil producer Gazprom Neft will delay the start of commercial production at its key Novoportovskoye oilfield by around six months, two company sources told Reuters on Tuesday.

One source, who works at the field on the Yamal peninsula in the Arctic, said commercial production would start no earlier than September due to technological problems.

Russia's fourth-largest oil producer had planned to launch production at the field this spring and the project is seen as crucial to the company hitting its target of 100 million tonnes, or 2 million barrels per day, of oil by 2020.

The second source said output would be less than the 2.5 million tonnes of oil the company had planned to produce this year. The source, who is unauthorised to speak to the media, declined to say how much less the company would produce.

Gazprom Neft, a subsidiary of gas producer Gazprom , declined immediate comment.

The company has put the field's oil reserves at more than 250 million tonnes of oil and gas condensate as well as more than 320 billion cubic metres of natural gas.

Gazprom Neft's oil output jumped by 5 percent year-on-year in March to 3 million tonnes (709,000 bpd), the biggest increase among its Russia's peers.

The relatively high volumes of the field's light low-sulphur oil could also allow the creation of a new oil grade to feed refineries in northwest Europe.

Alternatively, oil could be shipped to Asia, though this could only be done over short periods because of difficulties navigating through winter ice.

(Reporting by Olesya Astakhova and Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Dmitry Solovyov and Susan Thomas)


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