Russia Shifts to National Price Index for Taxes

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Russia is preparing to change the way it calculates major oil taxes to reflect the dramatic shift in its export patterns since the outbreak of the Ukraine war. Beginning in 2024, it will start using its own national price index, while international pricing agency Argus will stop publishing the price index for Russia's Urals crude oil export blend that Moscow has traditionally used to calculate major oil taxes. The tectonic changes to Russian flows over the past year necessitate a change, but the move will also give Moscow a chance to cultivate and promote its national price index — something that it has failed to achieve over the past two decades. Russia’s finance ministry said that Argus will, from Jan.1, 2024, stop publishing its quotes for Urals NWE c.i.f. Rotterdam (Netherlands) and Urals Med Aframax c.i.f. Augusta (Italy), which were used to calculate key oil taxes like the mineral extraction tax (MET) and export duties. Moscow will instead switch to its national price index calculated on the basis of the registration of over-the-counter deals with Russian crude oil — namely, the index provided by the St. Petersburg International Mercantile Exchange (Spimex). The index is calculated on an f.o.b basis from the Russian ports of Primorsk, Ust-Luga and Novorossiysk, with adjustments made as necessary for export deals done on a delivered-at-place (d.a.p) basis. The index is quoted in US dollars, in line with existing practices worldwide for crude indices. The ministry will use that price plus $4 per barrel, which is the transportation cost. Until 2024, Moscow will continue the current practice of calculating taxes using the Argus index or the Urals discount to North Sea dated Brent of $25/bbl — whichever is bigger. From September, the discount will be reduced to $20/bbl, while the Spimex index will be used as a third source.

Oil Prices, Oil Trade, Opec/Opec-Plus, Oil Trade
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