Export Tax on Crude to Be Cut by 2%

A Finance Ministry official said Monday that the country would cut its oil export duty by 2 percent from October -- the first decrease in a year -- as global oil prices fall.

Russia sets oil and oil-product export duties every two months based on monitoring of international prices for its mainstay Urals crude blend.

Alexander Sakovich, deputy head of the ministry's customs monitoring department, said the oil export duty for October and November would be set at $485.8 per ton, down from a record high of $495.9 per ton set for August and September.

Sakovich said export duties for refined products would fall to $339.70 per ton of light products from $346.40. The duty for heavy products, such as fuel oil, will fall to $183 per ton from $186.60.

The duties often prompt Russian oil firms to redirect flows, refining more crude at home when duties rise and sending more abroad when they decline.

The decrease came as Russian exports of gas oil and gasoline fell in August because of the higher duties and increased demand for the fuels on the domestic market, data provided by the Energy Ministry showed.

Russian oil companies exported 86,219 tons per day of gas oil in the first 27 days of August, down by 5.7 percent from 91,390 tons per day in the first 30 days of July. Exports of gasoline, which usually amount to around 10 percent of total sales of the fuel, fell by 14.7 percent to 9,167 tons per day from 10,740 tons per day in July.