Russia's oil drilling set for record 2nd year despite Western sanctions

Russia is set to achieve a second consecutive year of record oil drilling in 2023, according to a report by Bloomberg. Despite ongoing sanctions from Western nations, Russia has drilled a total depth of 28,100 kilometers in the first 11 months of last year, and this is expected to surpass 30,000 kilometers for the full year. This will surpass the previous post-Soviet record set in 2022.

Russia has heavily relied on its energy sector since President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine in 2022. Despite the withdrawal of key oil-service providers and the implementation of sanctions, such as crude oil import bans and price caps, drilling activity has continued to thrive. However, it is important to note that high drilling numbers do not necessarily mean increased production. Russian firms are focusing on maintaining output from their oldest wells, while newer projects face challenges in finding markets and viable trade partners.

It is worth mentioning that Russia's record-breaking drilling comes as the country has agreed to curb production in line with its OPEC+ partners. This suggests that more drilling activity may be necessary to prevent output from declining further. In December, Russia's daily crude production averaged around 9.57 million barrels, which was slightly lower than the previous month.

Overall, Russia's oil drilling industry has shown resilience despite facing sanctions and geopolitical tensions. The country has been able to maintain its drilling operations and achieve record depths. However, the focus now needs to shift towards increasing production and finding sustainable markets for the oil.


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