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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Equal Oil Access Pushed

Russian oil joint ventures with foreign companies should not enjoy privileged access to export pipelines or receive export tariff breaks, government officials told Interfax.

"The Economics Ministry has always supported the abolition of export quotas and privileged access to pipelines," Interfax quoted Deputy Economics Minister Sergei Vasilyev as saying.

"We have to move toward market mechanisms for distributing the capacity of the pipeline system," he said.

A government resolution in February granted enterprises with foreign capital priority access to export pipelines. These enterprises are also entitled to exemptions from crude oil export tariffs of 20 European currency units a ton.

Russia abolished oil export quotas and licenses at the beginning of this year and set up a special commission to allocate pipeline space according to output levels.

Joint ventures feared this might lead to their being squeezed out of limited pipeline space by much bigger Russian firms. But they have so far maintained privileges.

Vasilyev said pipeline access should be distributed on a competitive basis among all producers, including joint ventures.

First Deputy Fuel and Energy Minister Anatoly Fomin told a news conference Friday that a system of competitions or contests for pipeline access was being considered. But it was not clear how such a system would work.

Interfax also quoted a senior Finance Ministry official as saying joint ventures should not have export tariff exemptions.