Russia may partially lift ban on diesel exports soon: Kommersant

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The Russian government is ready to partially lift its ban on diesel exports in coming days, the daily Kommersant reported on Wednesday, citing unidentified sources.

The ban would be lifted only on pipeline exports of diesel and volumes may be subject to quotas to avoid surges in wholesale prices, the newspaper reported.

The ban on gasoline exports will remain in force for now.

Russian exports of diesel are the largest of all types of oil products. The country exported 4.817 million tons of gasoline and almost 35 million tons of diesel last year.

The newspaper also said that Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak is scheduled to hold a weekly meeting later on Wednesday with oil companies to discuss the possible easing of the ban.

Novak's office did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

The deputy prime minister said last week that Russia may introduce quotas on fuel exports if a complete ban on cross-border supplies imposed on Sept. 21 does not succeed in bringing down high gasoline and diesel prices.

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Russia's gasoline and diesel prices have continued to slide on the local exchange. Since the ban was introduced, gasoline prices have declined by almost 10 percent, while diesel prices plummeted by 23 percent.

Storage facilities of Russian oil pipeline monopoly Transneft have been nearly exhausted and redirecting the extra volumes to the domestic market was almost technologically impossible, Kommersant reports.

On Tuesday, Novak said the government was not setting any time frame for the fuel export ban.

Expectations vary on how long the measures will be in effect. JP Morgan said it could last a couple of weeks until harvest season concludes in October, while FGE Energy said replenishing Russia's gasoline stocks could take up to two months.

Despite being one of the world's top oil producers, Russia has suffered shortages of gasoline and diesel in recent months as high export prices made it more advantageous for refiners to sell their products abroad.


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