Russia's Rosneft lifts profit in Q1

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Moscow (AFP)

Russia's largest oil producer Rosneft said Monday that its bottom-line profit rose sharply in the first three months of the current year on the back of increased production and the slide in the value of the ruble.

The state-controlled group said in a statement that net income grew by 62 percent to 131 billion rubles ($2 billion) in the period from January to March compared with the same quarter a earlier.

In dollar terms, net income grew by a more modest 27 percent year-on-year.

Rosneft said that production was up by 3.4 percent year-on-year at 5.9 billion barrels per day in the first quarter.

But compared with the preceding three months, output was down by 0.6 percent due to an agreement between Russia and other oil producing countries to cut production to help stabilise the price of crude.

First-quarter revenues were up 21 percent at 2.07 trillion rubles ($31.9 billion), Rosneft said.

Chief executive Igor Sechin described the results as "healthy" in the face of "volatility and quarterly decrease in oil prices" and the output agreement with the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other countries.

At the start of the year, Rosneft sought to secure its politically sensitive investments in Venezuela as the country went through a leadership crisis.

Part of Venezuela's debt to Moscow -- worth billions of dollars -- is paid back in oil according to agreements between Caracas's state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela, or PDVSA, and Rosneft.

Rosneft said that Venezuela is continuing to cut its debt to the company.