Russia renegs on pledge, diesel up

| 2/12/2002

Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced he plans to increase his nation's oil exports as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries looks to reduce output. Putin reaffirmed that Russia intends to set its own course in world oil markets at the same time cooperating with OPEC to stabilize prices.

Russia's oil production rose by 60,000 barrels a day in January from December. The increase is despite a pledge given by Russia late last year to reduce shipments as part of a coordinated effort by OPEC and non-OPEC nations to prop up oil prices in the face of slowing growth in world energy demand.

Russia, the world's second largest oil producer, after OPEC member Saudi Arabia, would like to see oil prices at $20 to $25 a barrel; OPEC seeks prices of $25 to $30 a barrel. World oil prices have stabilized in recent weeks in a range of $18 to $20, down sharply from about $30 a barrel following September 11.

The weekly retail on-highway diesel prices released by the Energy Department Monday show the national average cost of diesel increased slightly from last week at $1.153 per gallon. The highest prices nationally are found in the state of California. Diesel there pumps for $1.294. The lowest average prices are found in the Gulf Coast region. Fuel there is $1.122 per gallon. The remaining regions' price per gallon is as follows: East Coast, $1.179; New England, $1.285; Central Atlantic, $1.267; Lower Atlantic, $1.131; Midwest, $1.128; Rocky Mountain, $1.132; and West Coast, $1.232, respectively.