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April 14, 2008 10:08PM
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/282adfd4-0a4c-11dd-b5b1-0000779fd2ac.html?nclick_check=1

Fears emerge over Russia’s oil output

Russian oil production has peaked and may never return to current levels, one of the country’s top energy executives has warned, fuelling concerns that the world’s biggest oil producers cannot keep up with rampant Asian demand.

The warning comes as crude oil prices are trading near their record high of $112 a barrel, stoking inflation in many countries.

Leonid Fedun, the 52-year-old vice-president of Lukoil, Russia’s largest independent oil company, told the Financial Times he believed last year’s Russian oil production of about 10m barrels a day was the highest he would see “in his lifetime”. Russia is the world’s second biggest oil producer.

Mr Fedun compared Russia with the North Sea and Mexico, where oil production is declining dramatically, saying that in the oil-rich region of western Siberia, the mainstay of Russian output, “the period of intense oil production [growth] is over”.

The Russian government has so far admitted that production growth has stagnated, but has shied away from admitting that post-Soviet output has peaked...................
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