According to the Ministry of Finance, now only three taxpayers enjoy this preference. [названия компаний не раскрываются], and about 99% of the shortfall in budget revenues comes from a benefit in oil production. In 2018, a privilege was granted for only 11 sites (licenses), and the amount of budget revenue lost exceeded 1 billion rubles.
Using the reduced tax rate, only 509 thousand tons of oil was produced in 2018. This is about 0.1% of production in the country, commented RBC Director of Consulting in the field of state regulation of the fuel and energy complex VYGON Consulting Daria Kozlova. Only a few, mostly joint ventures created in the 1990s, were able to take advantage of the privilege, the expert explained. “In practice, there has been a lot of controversy and litigation over what to consider as exploration of deposits at our own expense,” Kozlova said.
The total amount of tax benefits only for oil production, the Ministry of Finance tentatively estimated at 1.6 trillion rubles. for 2019. By 2033, they will reach an astronomical 2.3 trillion rubles, and the share of preferential oil production in Russia will almost double and amount to 90%, reported Director of Tax and Customs Policy, Ministry of Finance Alexey Sazanov.
“Nevertheless, the abolition of the existing benefits is a precedent, this has not happened before,” Kozlova said. “Now we are in the process of inventorying tax benefits, and it would be more logical to evaluate the effectiveness and relevance of the reduced mineral extraction tax rate as part of the inventory, and not to cancel it separately.”
The first stage of an inventory of oil reserves and assessment of benefits has now been completed. told previously RBC Minister of Energy Alexander Novak. Total reserves of Rosnedra deposits included in the inventory appreciated 17.2 billion tons, and less than 70% of these reserves are profitable for mining.
It is planned to formulate criteria for granting benefits at the second stage. “Previously, privileges were provided discretely, precisely, but now we want to systematize this work. We want to digitize the entire oil industry, companies say that this can be done in two to three years, ”Novak explained.
The share of profitable reserves of 62% indicates a significant amount of reserves in the extraction of which companies will be interested, emphasized Sazanov in an interview with Kommersant. “In this case, asking for some additional benefits at least prematurely. In principle, we may not change anything in the next five years, ”says the director of the tax department of the Ministry of Finance.
The abolition of privileges for exploration at their own expense is a sensitive but not an acute issue for business, commented RBC Deputy Director General of the Institute of Energy and Finance Alexey Belogoryev. “The norm is indeed somewhat outdated – the appearance of this exemption was part of the tax reform in 2001-2002, while most of the existing severance tax benefits appeared after 2007,” the expert noted. “Under the new reform, the rejection of such norms is quite expected. But this does not make less urgent the need for tax incentives for oil exploration, primarily by deducting it from profit tax, ”Belogoryev explained.
Representatives of the Ministry of Energy and LUKOIL refused to comment on RBC plans to abolish the benefits. NOVATEK does not enjoy this preference, the company’s press service told RBC. The Ministry of Natural Resources, as well as the largest producing companies Gazprom, Rosneft, Surgutneftegaz, Tatneft and RussNeft did not respond to RBC’s requests.