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Russia's oil output on the rise, likely to match 2008 level


ROME, May 24 (RIA Novosti) - Oil production in Russia is showing the signs of growth compared with last year and is expected to match the 2008 level, Energy Minister Shmatko said on Sunday.

Shmatko is attending a two-day meeting of G8 energy ministers, which opened in Rome on Sunday with an investment forum involving global energy companies. The ministers' meeting is aimed at preparing the energy agenda for the G8 summit to be held in July in L'Aquila, central Italy.

"Today we can confidently speak about the reliable and stable situation in the Russian oil industry. According to my data, a slight growth in oil output has been observed compared to 2008," Shmatko said.

The minister said that the necessary tax reforms implemented as part of the government's anti-crisis measures amid the ongoing economic crisis has prompted the heads of oil companies to cancel planned investment cuts.

Domestic oil output in April grew 1.9% year-on-year, the country's top statistics service Rosstat earlier said.

Russia's Economics Ministry earlier predicted that crude oil output could decline 1.1% in 2009 to 482 million metric tons (3.5 billion barrels) with exports to shrink 2.5% to 237 million metric tons (1.7 billion barrels).

Russia's oil output declined 0.7%, year-on-year, in 2008 to 488 million metric tons (3.6 billion barrels).

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