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Balanced Budget Within Reach as Oil Tax Breaks Wind Down

TNK-BP and Surgutneftegaz will have to pay full export duties for their two East Siberian oil fields from May, as oil prices shot to new peaks, a Finance Ministry official said Tuesday.

TNK-BP's Verkhnechonskoye field and Surgutneftegaz's Talakan field have enjoyed large discounts on the export duty for more than a year.

The government has already said it will cancel the preferential export tax for the huge Vankor oil deposit owned by Rosneft, as state coffers require more cash ahead of the presidential election in March 2012.

"The order was signed yesterday, it should be published tomorrow. All three deposits will be deprived of breaks starting from May 1," Finance Ministry official Alexander Sakovich said.

Meanwhile, Deputy Finance Minister Oksana Sergiyenko said Tuesday that Russia could balance its budget if oil prices average $113 a barrel this year and $125 in 2012.

(Reuters, Bloomberg)

The board of directors of Surgutneftegaz has extended general director Vladimir Bogdanov's term by another five years, effective May 7. Bogdanov owns 0.37 percent of shares in the company, RIA-Novosti reported Monday. Surgutneftegaz's net profit for 2010 rose 12.75 percent year on year to 128.39 billion rubles.

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