Russian budget revenues from energy sales – including taxes and customs revenues – plummeted last month to the lowest level since August 2020, according to data from its finance ministry compiled by Reuters.
In January 2023, the price of Russia’s flagship Urals grade averaged 42% lower than in the same month of 2022, as its discount to Brent Crude grew wider following the EU embargo and the G7 price cap, which came into effect on December 5. The average price of Urals in January, at $49.48 per barrel, was 1.7 times lower than in January 2022, when it averaged $85.64 per barrel, Russia’s Finance Ministry said earlier this week.
Russia calculates the export duty due to the budget based on the price of Urals. This has been reducing its revenues due to the wide discount of Urals to Brent, which has swelled to nearly $40 per barrel at times.
Brent Crude was trading at around $82 a barrel early on Friday, while Urals, per Reuters estimates, was at around $53.60 per barrel.
Russia is considering taxing its oil firms based on the price of Brent – instead of Urals – to limit the fallout on the Russian budget revenues due to the widening discount of Urals to Brent, Russian daily Kommersant reported on Friday, quoting sources.
Russia is looking at ways to reduce the steep discount on Urals and to stabilize its oil revenues. At the end of January, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the government to submit within a month proposals to change the methodology for calculating the taxes from oil, Kommersant’s sources said.
The EU oil ban and price cap are costing Russia an estimated $174 million (160 million euros) per day due to the fall in shipment volumes and prices for Russian oil, Finland-based Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) said in a report last month. The revenue losses are expected to rise to $304 million (280 million euros) per day with additional measures that are being implemented as of February 5, according to CREA.