Russia lifted temporary restrictions on gasoline exports as the domestic market has enough supplies and with demand lower during winter.
The government imposed a ban on gasoline and diesel exports in September to combat surging fuel prices that contributed to inflation and created a potential political headache for the Kremlin ahead of presidential elections scheduled for March.
But since the start of the ban — and aided by “high crude-processing rates” — a surplus of gasoline has emerged and wholesale prices on Russia’s commodities exchange have fallen “significantly,” the Energy Ministry said in a Telegram post on Friday. It said inventories of the fuel have reached about 2 million tons.
The restrictions are lifted from Nov. 17 to avoid overstocking of inventories that could lead to lower refining runs during winter, which typically sees gasoline demand easing and the completion of maintenance at refineries, according to the ministry.
The ban on diesel exports was eased in early October, though some restrictions on shipments remain in place.
Unlike diesel, Russia consumes most of the gasoline it produces. The lifting of the ban means Russia can export some 200,000 to 300,000 tons of gasoline from ports and another 150,000 to 200,000 tons via railways in December, said Mikhail Turukalov, an independent US-based oil-products analyst.
Authorities will continue monitoring gasoline production and prices of the fuel on the domestic market and may ban exports again if needed, the Energy Ministry said.