It is realistic to believe that oil prices could reach $80 per barrel this year, it is an achievable price point, Russian Energy Minister Nikolai Shulginov said on Friday in comments likely referring to Brent prices.

“It is important that oil prices suit the consumers who buy these products,” Russian media quoted Shulginov as saying.

The OPEC+ agreement, to which Russia is a party, is taking all steps to rebalance the oil market, the minister added.

Three weeks ago, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said that Brent prices were set to be slightly higher than $80 per barrel at the end of this year, thanks to rising demand in the summer and production reductions from OPEC+.

Early on Friday, Brent was trading at around $75 per barrel, slightly down on the day but set for a weekly gain.

The Russian energy ministry expects the country to see its oil and condensates production drop by 20 million tons, or 400,000 barrels per day (bpd), this year, compared to last year, Shulginov also said.

Russia has pledged to reduce its oil production by 500,000 bpd from March. The 500,000 bpd cuts will now extend until the end of 2024.
But Russian crude oil export data in recent weeks have not reflected any cuts—on the contrary, Russian crude oil exports by sea have been rising.

Russia’s crude oil exports by sea continue to stay high as the four-week average to June 4 showed that shipments were inching up, much to the frustration of its partners in the OPEC+ deal.

Russia has stopped reporting oil production levels, and the market and analysts have to rely on vessel-tracking data, trade sources, and import statistics in China and India about the amount of Russian supply.

After the OPEC+ meeting in Vienna on June 4, Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said, referring to Russia, “We discussed with Russia the issue of its production and asked it to clarify its data, and we have strengthened the concept of transparency with Russia about its oil production figures.”