Russian oil sector posts $38-40 bln net profits for 2005

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MOSCOW, March 22 (RIA Novosti) - A senior finance official said Wednesday the country's oil sector had returned net profits of $38-40 billion in 2005.

"Net profits were $38-40 billion last year, and there were no loss-making companies," Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Shatalov said, adding that taxation in the oil sector still needed improvement.

"For this purpose, a zero rate severance tax will be imposed for new deposits for up to 10 years from 2007," he said, adding that the tax holiday period could be shortened if the deposit in question makes a profit.

The degree of deposit depletion will be considered when differentiating the severance tax, Shatalov said, adding that lower rates should be granted to fields in the final stage of development - more than 85% depleted deposits - starting from 2008.

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