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Russia's oil output down 1.9% to 575 mln bbls in Jan.-Feb.


VIENNA, March 15 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's crude oil output declined 1.9% in January-February to 78.5 million metric tons (575 million barrels), Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin said on Sunday.

"In January-February 2008, crude oil output in Russia declined 1.5 million metric tons (10.9 million barrels) from the same period of 2008 to 78.5 million metric tons," Sechin said at a conference of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in Vienna.

Sechin said that the unprecedented efforts, which OPEC member states and independent oil producing countries were taking to cut oil exports helped world oil prices stabilize at around $40 per barrel but urged further coordinated action to keep the global oil market stable.

Sechin, who oversees Russia's fuel and energy sector in the government, also spoke for the use of long-term contracts on oil supply to make the world oil market more predictable.

This measure "would make it possible to take into account the growth of real expenses on oil production and transportation in the pricing formula," Sechin said.

Sechin also said oil producing countries should build up their oil reserve facilities to prevent undesirable oil price fluctuations.

Oil prices have plunged to just around $40 per barrel from their mid-July highs of $147 per barrel as credit crunch has reduced the demand for fuel.

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