MOSCOW, April 2. /TASS/. American Exxon Mobil informed the Russian Energy Ministry on Monday, March 30 about lodging a claim to the Stockholm arbitration requiring changing the interpretation of the Sakhalin-1 project Production-Sharing Agreement (PSA) paragraph on taxes, Vedomosti newspaper reported Wednesday citing Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak.
ExxonMobil believes its subsidiary Exxon Neftegas Limited overpaid approximately $500 mln profit taxes on its Sakhalin-1 oil and gas project.
At the time of the PSA signing in the mid-1990s profit tax of 35% was imposed in Russia. Russia reduced the profit tax in 2009 to 20%, but ExxonMobil continued to pay at the earlier level of 35%, although it applies to the Finance Ministry with a request to lower the rate. According to the newspaper, Russia believes that PSA terms are not subject to change within its period of validity.
According to the newspaper, Russia is preparing its propositions and hopes for out of court settlement of the issue.
Earlier in March ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson came to Moscow for talks. Tillerson met with Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich, Energy Minister Alexander Novak, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, and twice with the Executive Chairman of Rosneft Igor Sechin. As media reported, the officials listened to ExxonMobil arguments, but failed to come to an agreement. The issue will be further discussed by the Russian Government.
ExxonMobil is the Sakhalin-1 project’s operator, 30% belong to the Japanese Sodeco, Rosneft and the Indian ONGC own 20% stake each.