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Row over Russia's new oil tax regime deepens
March 28, 2017 / 3:27 PM / 9 months ago

Row over Russia's new oil tax regime deepens

MOSCOW, March 28 (Reuters) - Russia’s energy and finance ministries are increasingly at odds over how to apply a planned new tax regime for oil producers, a finance ministry official said on Tuesday.

Russia imposes two main taxes on its oil industry - an oil export duty and a mineral extraction tax (MET), linked to the oil price - but plans to gradually replace them with a single profits-based tax.

Some oilfields, however, enjoy export duty exemption and MET tax breaks, which the energy ministry says should continue while the finance ministry says they should end.

“The positions have not been brought closer together. On the contrary, they are falling further apart,” Alexei Sazanov, head of the finance ministry’s tax department, told reporters.

“We haven’t agreed,” he said.

Extending the tax breaks and exemptions could cost the state budget 100 billion roubles ($1.8 bln) a year, Sazanov said.

The issue now looked likely to go to President Vladimir Putin to be resolved, he said, which will take time.

The government has said it plans to start testing the new regime from Jan. 1 next year on some smaller oilfields with combined annual production of no more than 15 million tonnes (300,000 bpd).

The energy ministry has proposed using both tax breaks and a profits-based tax, especially for Rosneft’s Samotlor oilfield in Western Siberia, Sazanov said.

The mature field is one of the world’s largest and produced over 3 million bpd at its peak in the 1980s. Rosneft is actively drilling at the field to try to stem falling output. ($1 = 56.9443 roubles) (Reporting by Darya Korsunskaya and Oksana Kobzeva; writing by Vladimir Soldatkin; editing by Katya Golubkova and Susan Fenton)

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