Cluster analysis of Russian oil companies on the tax burden parameters

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The oil industry occupies an important place in Russian economy and in the global energy supply system. The industry has recently been facing a number of internal and external problems, for example, the deteriorating quality and structure of the product base and an increase in the share of tight oil reserves. Confronting these challenges will inevitably incur costs, which will directly affect oil companies’ financial performance. The Russian government uses taxation to incentivize oil companies to improve their efficiency, which renders the question of tax burden particularly salient. This study aims to analyze the tax burden on the Russian oil industry in the period from 2010 to 2017 and to identify the key factors that shape the structure and dynamics of oil companies’ tax payments. The article provides an overview of Russian and international research literature on the problem of tax burden. The role of oil and gas revenues in the structure of the Russian federal budget is shown. The analysis demonstrates that there has been a steady decline in the tax burden on oil companies in recent years due to the changes in the method of calculating the mineral extraction tax and export duties as well as the expanding range of preferential categories of subsurface use objects. The factor analysis combined with quantitative analysis reveals the factors that determine the dynamics and structure of oil companies’ tax payments. The method of cluster analysis is applied in this study to compare the performance of Russian oil companies according to a set of tax burden parameters. The companies are divided into three clusters and specific recommendations are provided for each cluster. For example, Gazprom Neft and LUKOIL have a low tax burden and can be seen, therefore, as potential donors of tax revenues; Rosneft, Bashneft and Tatneft need to increase their efficiency through non-tax optimization; a suitable strategy for Surgutneftegaz, RussNeft, and Slavneft, in our view, would be to adjust the structure of their production activities to increase the share of the domestic crude oil market. Based on the results of the cluster analysis, the authors propose guidelines for reforming taxation of the oil industry and describe the main stages of this process
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-56
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Tax Reform
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • cluster analysis
  • oil and gas revenues
  • oil industry
  • tax burden
  • tax maneuver




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