President Dmitry Medvedev has ordered the head of Russia’s anti-monopoly service (FAS) to closely monitor retail vehicle fuel prices, according to a Kremlin statement.
Any baseless increases in fuel prices will be met with swift legal measures, the statement says.
Consumer fuel prices for automobile gasoline in Russia fell 0.1 percent in Russia in the week from 19-15 December according to Rosstat, the state statistics agency, whilst diesel rose 0.4 percent.
The Energy Ministry said on December 30 the rise in excise duty on fuel products should not lead to a one-off “shock” rise in gasoline and diesel prices for customers.
The ministry said a series of measures were taken in 2011 aimed at stabilizing the domestic fuel market. Deliveries of high-octane gasoline on the domestic market rose 7.3 percent and winter diesel fuel 5 percent. Fuel stocks at oil refineries and oil depots reached an annual high last year, almost doubling from 2010.
In a third wave of anti-monopoly probe into fuel price fixing by Russian energy companies last year, the competition watchdog fined Rosneft oil giant 1.75 billion rubles ($55 million), Gazprom Neft 979.3 million rubles ($31 million), Bashneft 778 million rubles ($24 million) and LUKoil 609 million rubles ($19 million).
Fuel shortages occurred in the summer across Russia last year after oil companies ceased deliveries to regional suppliers. The oil companies complained that pressure from government to hold down retail prices made sales less profitable than selling abroad.