Russia Extends Cuts Into the Second Quarter

Russian oil exports in the second quarter of this year will remain at the same level as the first quarter, Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Khristenko said on Sunday. The decision followed a meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in Vienna on Friday where it was announced there would be no change in its oil production target until its members meet again in June.

Russia is not an OPEC member, but Moscow agreed to OPEC's demands last year to share the burden of the cuts in a bid to stabilize world prices and cut its exports by 150,000 barrels a day for the first three months of this year.

Khristenko said that if circumstances change, Russia will be able to easily adjust export volumes. He said the government would discuss the problems of Russian oil exports this week. Several OPEC officials had visited Russia recently to try to persuade it to keep exports down because too much Russian oil would drag prices down for all producers.