Russia is heavily dependent on oil and gas - Kasich

Claim in 2018: “Russia relies heavily on energy exports for close to three-quarters of its export earnings and over half of its budget.”in-betweenEnergy has accounted for less than 70 percent of Russia’s export earnings since 2014, hovering between 62 and 64 percent in 2015-2018; oil and gas—Russia’s most lucrative energy exports—provided under 50 percent of its federal budget revenue in 2015-2017 and for most of this year, although they did account for just over 50 percent in January-February 2018. (Fact-check done in July 2018.)

Source of claim: Ohio Governor John R. Kasich (June 2018)

 

The governor did not specify the sources or time frame for his data, nor did he specify the types of energy he had in mind. Therefore, we combed through the most recent figures provided by international organizations and Russian government agencies. The tables below give a quick summary of our findings; a more detailed explanation follows.

 

Share of Fuel and Energy in Russian Exports

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

Jan-May 2018

70.4

70.6

69.5

62.9

62.1

63.2

63.9

Source: Russian Customs Service (links below)

 

 

Share of Oil and Gas in Russia’s Budget Revenue (as a percentage of total revenue), 2006-2017

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

46.9

37.2

47.3

40.7

46.1

49.6

50.2

50.2

51.3

42.9

36

39.6

Share of Oil and Gas in Russia’s Budget Revenue (as a percentage of total revenue), Jan-May, 2018

January

February

March

April

May

Jan-May

June est.

50.7

50.9

45.6

45

45.9

46.5

45.6

Source: Russian Finance Ministry

 

In terms of Russia’s export earnings, the closest figures to Kasich’s claim of nearly 75 percent come from 2012-2013. (All export data below were calculated by the reporting organizations in U.S. dollars.) In those years, the share of fuels—defined as mineral fuels, oils or lubricants and products of their distillation—totaled 70.3 percent and 70.6 percent, respectively, according to the World Bank’s World Integrated Trade Solution (WITS) statistics. Official Russian customs data for “fuel and energy”—which include not just petroleum products, but coal and electricity as well—give almost the same numbers: 70.4 percent in 2012 and 70.6 percent in 2013. (This is unsurprising, as World Bank data often draw on official government numbers.) For 2014, both the World Bank and the Russian customs service put the share of fuels and energy in Russia’s exports by value at 69.5 percent. In 2015, by all accounts, the percentage sank lower: WITS put the figure for fuels at 62.8 percent and Russian customs (“fuel and energy”) at 62.9 percent.

Russia’s latest customs data (for January-May 2018) show that fuel and energy accounted for 63.9 percent of Russia’s export revenue, rather than almost 75 percent as claimed by Kasich. The figures for 2017 and 2016 were even lower, with fuel and energy accounting for 63.2 percent and 62.1 percent, respectively, according to the customs service. (WITS anomalously put the 2016 figure at 47.2 percent and did not provide data for 2017 at the time of this writing, but the World Bank noted in a May 2018 report that oil and gas exports last year made up “almost 59 percent” of total exports by value.)

Calculating the share of “energy exports” in Russia’s federal budget revenue is trickier. International organizations don’t provide any useful data that we could find on this front. Official Finance Ministry statistics reflect only the impact of “oil and gas goods,” which is a decent proxy, as oil and gas make up the lion’s share of Russia’s energy exports by value; however, the revenue they provide to the state comes not only from export duties but from extraction taxes, with the latter applying to petroleum products sold both abroad and domestically.

That said, according to data from the Finance Ministry, the first two months of this year did see the share of oil- and gas-related revenue in Russia’s federal budget rise to nearly 51 percent, although for the four-month period of January-April it was 46.9 percent. On an annual basis, earlier ministry data show that in the past 12 years oil and gas accounted for “over half” the national budget only in 2012-2014 (see tables above).

It is worth noting that Russian leaders and Russia-watching economists have long spoken of the need to reduce the country’s dependence on oil and gas to fill state coffers. Last October President Vladimir Putin told an investment forum in Moscow that the share of oil and gas in Russia’s budget revenue had dropped from 51.3 percent in 2014 to about 39 percent in 2017. (He did not mention that it had risen from 36 percent in 2016—a figure that was likely a function of low oil prices, not of any significant policy changes.) Clearly, Moscow sees further reductions as an important objective. Late last year, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov predicted that the share of oil and gas in federal budget revenue would fall to 37 percent in 2018 and 33 percent by 2020—though this, like most predictions, should be taken with a grain of salt

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