15 Feb 2010 15:33

Customs abolishes full advance duty payment by Gazprom

MOSCOW. Feb 15 (Interfax) - Gazprom has secured the abolition by the Federal Customs Service (FCS) of the full advance payment of customs duties, the Russian gas giant said in a quarterly report.

The company will now be able to return to its previous practice of paying half the duty in advance.

The FCS in September last year made Gazprom pay the full advance instead of half and started to fine the company for missing the deadlines for payment of duties.

But the FCS yielded on November 27 and allowed Gazprom to pay the 50% advance for the period January 1 to July 31, 2010. The fines for overdue payment were deemed unlawful.

Gazprom estimates that the requirement to pay the full duty in advance forced it to seek an additional 15 billion-20 billion rubles in funds on a monthly basis.

However the customs service's requirement that gas exports be registered in Russia itself has effectively stripped Gazprom of the right to take gas out of underground storage in Europe.