Russia to freeze gasoline prices until spring

The Kommersant Daily said that the Russian government has entered into an informal agreement with oil companies to freeze the prices of gasoline until spring. Energy Minister Sergey Shmatko said that the government has agreed in principle with the oil companies and other market participants to maintain the wholesale and retail prices of gasoline at the December 2011 level, despite an increase in excise taxes in January 2012. Last year, filling station across the country stopped operations due to shortages, because the artificially low domestic prices prompted refiners to export more products. (January 23, 2012)