War is over? Belarus says agreement on Russia gas deliveries reached

The decisions on the Russian gas deliveries to Belarus have been reached and are to be coordinated at the political level, Energy Minister Uladzimir Patupchyk told journalists on Friday.

According to the minister, it is of importance to meet all the provisions of the Treaty on the EEU, particularly the creation of equal conditions for economic entities of all the EEU member states.

“In order to create the common electricity market by 1 July 2019 and the common gas market by 1 January 2025 we should level gas prices as much as we can, and this is what we are doing today. All the arrangements that we reached were announced by Belarus’ Deputy Prime Minister Uladzimir Syamashka and his Russian counterpart Arkady Dvorkovich. All the future steps will depend on the political decisions adopted at the highest level,” state-run news agency BelTA quotes Parupchyk.

“We must resolve the issue. We must secure a substantial decrease in the price for natural gas. We’ve been working on it for nearly a year and a half and I hope we are close to resolution,” the minister said.

The oil and gas conflict between Russia and Belarus has been running on over a year. Two capitals failed to come to terms over payments for Russian gas delivered in 2016. Minsk was indignant at the fact that Russian consumers bought gas at subsidized prices. Belarus is seeking the same subsidies for domestic enterprises so that they could compete on the Russian market.

The conflict erupted as Belarus started to pay $73 per thousand cubic meters while the contract price for the Russian gas was $132.

In October, Belarus was late in paying the debt for gas. The government was to transfer to “Gazprom” $281 million. Later, it became known that Minsk had not transferred money for Russian gas, as it expected signing of ‘some’ agreements.

Against the backdrop of the gas dispute and a default on deliveries of petroleum products, Russia reduced the supply of oil to Belarusian refineries by 5.25 mln tons, which crushed the export of Belarusian oil products. In response to the Russia’s measures, from October 11, Belarus wanted to raise tariffs for the transit of Russian oil through Belarusian territory by 50%. Later this resolution was canceled in exchange for the restoration of the full volume of oil supplies from Russia.

The ‘gas war’ has already cost Belarus 0.3% of GDP. According to the Russian side, Belarus’s debt reached $550,000.


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