Moscow has still not taken its final decision on the amount of oil to be devoted to Belarus next year. Yesterday’s negotiations between the Prime Ministers did not bring about any solution of the problem. It is crucial the leaders of both countries participate in the next round of talks, the experts say.
It is to be recalled that 5 mln tons of oil is at issue. The Belarusian side calls for 23 mln tons of oil deliveries for the next year which is 2 tons more that the country has received this year. It is natural that Russia is not consumed with desire to provide its unfair counterpart with cheap oil after the headline-making solvents case: it offers only 18 mln tons for the next year.
According to economist Aliaksandr Sinkevich, the Kremlin is not going to be in any rush to bring the question to a decision: the talks might be continued next year. The only lever of pressure on Russia that Belarus possesses is purchasing Venezuelan or Kaspian oil until volumes of supply is arranged.
“All the economic talks and its difficulties caused by [the stance of] the Russian side aim at privatization. It was announced as far back as last year but it has not started yet. But Russian business practically has the profitable branches of the Belarusian industry, primarily Belaruskali and petroleum industry for keeps, ” the expert says.
To yield profit Belarusian oil refining enterprises must operate at full capacity without fail. If Minsk does not gain the 5 mln there may be a considerable decline in profits which will clear the way for Russian companies to the privatization of Belarusian enterprises.