Russia was the world's top oil producer in the year's first quarter, overtaking Saudi Arabia by churning out 9.5 million barrels per day, the International Energy Agency said. But output is already on the decline, and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's first priority is protecting the country's main source of revenue. Putin has pledged billions of dollars in tax cuts on production, plus tax holidays of up to 15 years for work in remote regions. Oil "was so obviously overtaxed that they had to do something," Alfa-Bank research head Ronald P. Smith said.
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