Authors: M Chadwick, M Nissanke,

Soviet Oil Exports

The Soviet Union is a major exporter of crude oil and petroleum products, and as such is an important player on the world petroleum market. However, the oil policies of the Soviet Union are not well understood. They sometimes seem shrouded in mystery and their interpretation is often marred by misconceptions.

This book examines the oil export policies of the Soviet Union in the context of the Soviet balance of payments. Its main thesis is that Soviet decisions on the volume of oil exports to the West relate more to trade adjustment policies than to price intervention on the world oil market. In this respect this book is of interest both to economists studying the Soviet Union and to students of international trade policies. The possible effects on the level of exports of such recent events as the 1985 decline in Soviet oil production, the 1986 oil price collapse and the Chernobyl disaster are also evaluated.

This study also describes the constraints faced by planners in the production and refining sectors of the Soviet oil industry, as well as the factors that determine the allocation of oil output between domestic consumption and exports to the West, the CMEA countries and the Third World. The analysis of the Soviet refining industry provides interesting explanations of the behaviour of oil products exports.

Finally, the book describes and analyses the means by which Soviet foreign trade agencies market crude oil and products exports in the West. It also provides an in-depth and novel analysis of the forward market for Russian gas oil in North West Europe. These contributions are of particular interest to professionals and students of the oil industry and to all those concerned with the economic structure and behaviour of the world petroleum market.


  1. Introduction
  2. Production, Consumption and the Soviet Oil Balance
  3. The Growth and Pattern of Soviet Oil Trade
  4. The Soviet Refining System and Products Exports
  5. Oil Exports and the Soviet Economy
  6. Oil Exports and Balance of Payments Adjustments: an Historical Examination
  7. Soviet Oil Allocation Policy
  8. Soviet Oil Exports in 1985-6
  9. Soviet Oil Exports to the West: an Economic Analysis
  10. Soviet Oil Export Markets and Marketing Strategies
  11. The Forward Market for Russian Gas Oil