Cuts in Oil Export Duties Accelerate Trading Session

The country's domestic oil trading session for December delivery accelerated Friday after the government cut oil export duties to an earlier-announced level, ending uncertainty over the levies.

The session was extended as market participants waited for the decision after a last-minute attempt by oil firms to get a bigger cut, traders said Friday.

But the government ultimately cut the duty by $95.20 to $192.10 per ton of crude oil from Dec. 1, as planned.

Oil companies sold crude at West Siberian metering points at 3,050 rubles to 3,300 rubles ($111.20 to $120.30) per ton, slightly down from the average of 3,350 rubles per ton in November, while buyers were offering to pay for crude from small oil companies at lower levels, traders said.

TNK-BP offered its crude at 3,700 rubles per ton at the beginning of the session but cut the price to 3,300 rubles by the end of the week, traders said.

No deals closed at this price level had been confirmed by the market players as of Friday evening.

Surgutneftegaz, one of the biggest suppliers to the local market, is reluctant to trade December crude, market players said.

"Surgut is boosting its exports and refinery runs and pumping oil into VSTO [Russia's first pipeline to Asia]," one trader said.

Komi producers, the second-most active seller after Siberia, sold crude at 2,800 rubles to 2,900 rubles at local metering point.

Moscow refinery, which typically buys crude from small producers in Siberia and the Komi republic, was buying crude at 3,450 rubles to 3,550 rubles per ton at the refinery gate, compared with 3,600 rubles to 3,650 rubles in November.