The government decided to lift the ban on gasoline exports, which had been in force since the end of September, as of November 17. Prior to this, in early October, the ban on the export of diesel fuel through pipelines was lifted, however, according to Kommersant, the export of diesel fuel outside the Russian Federation by rail will still be prohibited. The lifting of restrictions on gasoline exports coincided with the adoption by the State Duma of a project to return full damper payments.
The government announced the lifting of the ban on gasoline exports from November 17. The topic of lifting export restrictions was discussed the day before at a meeting between Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak and oil companies. At the same time, according to Kommersant, the restrictions on the ban on the export of diesel fuel by rail were decided not to be lifted.
The ban on the export of gasoline and diesel fuel was in effect since September 21; in early October, restrictions on the export of diesel fuel through pipelines were eased due to the threat of overstocking at refineries, but for gasoline the restrictions were still in effect. The embargo was adopted in order to saturate the market, as well as to bring down stock exchange quotes, which in September updated historical highs, as a result of which oil companies lost multi-billion dollar damper subsidies. Due to the introduction of the embargo, AI-92 quotes fell by 30% relative to their highs. On November 17, the cost of AI-92 and AI-95 on the SPbMTSB exchange decreased by 1%, to 48.6 thousand rubles. and 51.8 thousand rubles. per ton respectively.
According to Kommersant’s interlocutors, a longer continuation of the ban on gasoline exports could also lead to a decrease in refining due to the filling of storage capacities. There is no longer any need for an export ban after the government decided to return full damper payments to oil companies from October, which were halved in September. The corresponding project was approved in two readings at once in the State Duma on November 17. According to it, the budget will compensate for most of the lost revenue from increasing the damper by increasing the mineral extraction tax on gas condensate for Gazprom and gas for its independent producers. With the help of damper payments, the budget subsidizes the containment of wholesale prices when the global cost of fuel increases, so that gas station operators do not significantly increase prices at gas stations. However, the strengthening of the ruble and the decline in oil prices led to a decrease in export alternatives, which reduced the attractiveness of export supplies. In the summer, the growth of export alternatives was one of the key triggers for rising fuel prices, as well as a significant increase in supplies abroad.
Petromarket does not see any prerequisites for an increase in prices on the domestic market after the lifting of the export ban. Thus, as of November 10, AI-92 gasoline was traded on the domestic wholesale market at a premium (taking into account damper payments) to the export alternative. The national average premium was 4.4 thousand rubles. per ton, or 10% of the export alternative. The presence of such a significant premium means that supplies to the domestic market are more attractive than supplies for export, which makes lifting the ban logical, the company notes, recalling that the ban was a temporary measure aimed at stabilizing prices on the wholesale motor fuel market. The latter began to grow sharply in September against the backdrop of zeroing out damper payments and a slight increase in world oil prices, which made supplies of products for export much more profitable compared to supplies to the domestic market, Petromarket adds. The adjustment to the damper formula, which came into effect in October, a slight drop in world oil prices and the strengthening of the ruble made supplies of products to the domestic market more profitable than supplies for export and thereby eliminated the need for an export ban. According to company estimates, gasoline exports for the nine months of 2023 amounted to 5.1 million tons, of which 86% were AI-92, 10% – AI-80, 4% – AI-95 and gasoline with a higher octane number .
According to Kommersant’s interlocutor in the industry, the embargo on the export of diesel fuel by rail has not been lifted in order to maintain the volume of winter diesel fuel within the Russian Federation, because it is exported only by rail, while summer diesel fuel is now allowed to be exported towards ports through the Transneft system ” As for rail deliveries of gasoline, he estimates that in December about 200–300 thousand tons of fuel could be sent for export through ports by this type of transport. According to another Kommersant interlocutor, Russian Railways has already resumed approval of applications for gasoline exports.