MOSCOW, Aug. 19 (UPI) -- Russian oil production is expected to decline despite a modest uptick amid a push to expand operations in Siberian oil fields, officials say.
Russian oil producers increased their levels by nearly 1 percent, or about 77,000 barrels of oil per day, in the first half of 2009.
Meanwhile, production from six new Russian fields inaugurated in 2008 brought another 400,000 barrels on stream. Russian companies have cut their investments as crude prices fell during the economic recession, though Siberian fields have proved lucrative.
Executives, however, say much of this new production is at its full capacity, with declines expected as activity increases, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko said earlier this year that production for 2009 was expected to be consistent with 2008 levels despite activity in the new fields.
The International Energy Agency, however, said Russian oil production prompted an upward revision of its global forecast for the next few years.
Russia is the world's largest exporter of natural gas and the second largest oil exporter.