Finance Ministry explores ways of raising Russian oil tax

falling oil pricesRussian oil tax: The Russian Finance Ministry is rumoured to be considering introducing a new mechanism for calculating tax due on mineral extraction revenues in a move that could raise a further $24bn over the next three years.
The new mechanism involves changing the rouble exchange rate used to calculate the cut-off price above which tax becomes due. That currently stands at $15 a barrel and is then converted into roubles using the exchange rate at the time that the tax is paid – RUB63.5 to the dollar for 2016, RUB64.8 for 2017 and RUB 65.8 for 2018 by the Ministry’s own calculations. It is now considering introducing a ‘rouble deduction’ which would peg the calculation to the 2014 exchange rate and which would inflation indexed. The rouble-dollar exchange rate for 2016 would then become RUB 43.8, RUB 47.1 for 2017 and RUB 49.8 for 2018. 
Rumours of the proposal come as Russia struggles to make its budget numbers add up and to fill the fiscal hole left by the simultaneous slide in the price of oil and the value of the rouble. The Ministry was unavailable for comment.