Russian Min Preparing New Tax On Oil Reserves

The Russian Ministry for Economic Development and Trade is preparing a draft of a new tax on oil companies' reserves, Vedomosti reported Tuesday.

The newspaper said the tax is designed to whittle down what the government considers to be "excess reserves" of the oil sector, which has a generally far higher ratio of reserves to production than its international peers, thanks to the generous allocation of licenses in the past.

The new initiative comes only days after President Vladimir Putin told the nation in a televised address that oil companies need to pay more taxes. The newspaper didn't give any indication of when and in what form the government would attempt to introduce the new tax to newly-elected lower house of parliament, or Duma, which now boasts a sizable pro-Kremlin majority widely expected to be immune to lobbying by the oil companies.