MOSCOW, Feb 2 (Reuters) - Lower output from TNK-BP's mature fields led to an overall decrease in Russia's crude oil production, the world's largest, which edged down 0.1 percent in January, Energy Ministry data showed on Saturday.
Russia's oil output fell to 10.47 million barrels per day last month from 10.48 million bpd in December, marking a second monthly fall in a row after it reached a post-Soviet record high of 10.50 million bpd in November.
In tonnes, Russia's crude production was 44.278 million last month, the ministry said.
Still, it was higher than 9.1 million bpd, pumped last month by Saudi Arabia, which, unlike Russia, has a spare capacity of several million barrels per day.
Crude output at TNK-BP, Russia's third-largest oil producer, fell 0.5 percent last month following a production decline at its much-depleted West Siberian fields, including Samotlor - once a pride of Soviet oil industry and one of the world's only six super-giant oil fields with peak production of more than 1 million bpd in the 1970s and 1980s.
Last month Samotlor's production declined more than 1 percent to 332,782 bpd.
TNK-BP is in the process of a $55 billion acquisition by state owned Rosneft , Russia's top crude company.
Rosneft's production increased last month by 0.3 percent thanks to its East Siberian Vankor greenfield, where output rose a healthy 2.2 percent.
Most analysts expect Russian oil production to rise this year after it reached a post-Soviet peak of 10.37 million bpd in 2012 thanks to an output ramp-up at newly developed deposits.
Oil is getting harder to find and more expensive to extract, which is hitting oil companies' profits despite high crude prices. Tax breaks as well as new technologies for extraction of tight oil, hidden in non-porous rock, should facilitate oil production.
Daily gas production also decreased in January, to 2.11 billion cubic metres (bcm), from 2.12 bcm in December.
Gas output at Gazprom, the world's top gas producer, edged down 0.4 percent to 1.58 bcm, while production of Novatek stayed almost flat, at 0.15 bcm.
(Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Jeremy Laurence and William Hardy) Keywords: RUSSIA OIL/
(email@example.com)(+7 495 775 12 42)(Reuters Messaging: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Copyright Thomson Reuters 2013. All rights reserved.
The copying, republication or redistribution of Reuters News Content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Thomson Reuters.