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Correction: Russia could buy 117 mln bbls from oil firms to ease oversupply


(Corrects figure in headline)

UVAT (Tyumen Region, West Siberia), February 16 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian government may buy up to 16 million metric tons (117 million barrels) of surplus oil inventories from oil companies to ease oversupply problems, a Russian deputy prime minister said on Monday.

"According to calculations by oil companies, they are being forced to make a decision on cutting the supply of additional volumes to the market and this reduction could total up to 16 million tons depending on the market. The said oil volumes could be placed into a reserve fund or repurchased from oil companies," Igor Sechin said.

He also said it would be possible to buy out such a volume if the appropriate financing were found, adding that the effort could involve both budget and borrowed funds.

Sechin said either the state or oil companies would bear the expenses for setting up oil reserves, depending on the method chosen.

"It is possible to reserve both oil fields and oil at existing deposits and it is possible to set limits in licenses, setting aside some amount for a reserve," Sechin said.

According to the deputy prime minister, considerable volumes of crude are currently to be found aboard tankers at sea terminals. "It is necessary to remove this tension from the market," he said, adding that both crude and petroleum products could be placed into reserves.

Sechin also said the domestic oil sector was stable and did not need any emergency support measures, adding that crude output was expected to grow in 2009 despite a drop in January.

"This year, the level of oil production will continue to be positive as investment in the previous period was sufficient," Sechin said.

Russia's crude production in January declined 0.8% year-on-year to 41 million metric tons (300.5 million barrels).

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