According to the Ministry of Finance, which leads RBC, last month, Russian oil companies for the first time made payments to the budget in accordance with the damper mechanism. It was introduced in 2019 in order to keep domestic motor fuel prices at a stable level. The mechanism is based on the principle that the budget compensates oil industry for losses from fuel sales at high prices, and at low prices, oil companies pay to the budget.
In March 2020, market participants proposed changing the formula for calculating the damper mechanism - they expected that due to falling raw materials prices, damper payments would be very large. According to the source of the publication, the authorities said that it is possible to change the formula, but they will have to increase the extraction tax by the same amount, since “the budget needs to be helped in difficult times.”
Note that according to the current budget rule in the country, in the case when the oil price falls below the base ($ 42.4 this year), the lost oil and gas budget revenues are financed by the NWF. For this, the Ministry of Finance sells currency in the open market. For three years, the department bought the currency to replenish the NWF at the expense of excess revenues from oil and gas. In March, the Ministry of Finance has not yet bought foreign currency - a procurement plan was formed in February, and then the price of raw materials exceeded $ 42.
In April, the Ministry of Finance began to spend funds of the National Welfare Fund, a total of 77.8 billion rubles will be sold. This year, spending by the NWF to cover the deficit of oil and gas revenues, according to economists, will be from 1 to 1.7 trillion rubles.
As for gas prices, Russians traditionally do not expect cheaper fuel. Even when the price of fuel is reduced abroad, amid falling oil prices, in the Russian Federation it continues to rise. Earlier, the authorities announced their decision to ban the import of petroleum products into Russia so as not to let inexpensive foreign gas into the domestic market. The measure will be in effect until September - until that time, according to the forecasts of the Ministry of Energy analysts, the low price for “black gold” will be kept.