Alternative to Russia’s: Belarus may start purchasing Kazakh oil

President Alyaksandr Lukashenka may sign an oil trade agreement during his upcoming visit to Kazakhstan, Uladzimir Sizou, Deputy Chairman of Belarusian petrochemical company, says.

Earlier, Ambassador of Kazakhstan to Belarus Yermukhamet Yertysbayev said that the country was ready to supply oil to Belarus, but the issue of transit should be agreed with the Kremlin as the pipeline going through the territory of the Russian Federation.

“The agreement has been worked out, it is expected be signed in October. It is likely to happen in the course of the head of state’s visit to Nur-Sultan,” Sizou told news agency Interfax.

The contract does not stipulate the volume of delivery, only supply conditions.

Despite the negative impact of the tax maneuver in the oil sector and the supply of contaminated oil from Russia, the top official suggested that, according to the 2019 year-end results, Belarusian oil refineries would not be in the red.

In the spring of 2019, a scandal surrounding the supply of substandard Russian oil broke out in Belarus. On April 19, Belneftekhim reported on a sharp deterioration in the quality of the Russian oil coming through the Druzhba pipeline. The number of organochlorine compounds in the oil was many times higher than the limit.

Both Belarusian refineries – Mazyr and Naftan – then reduced capacity utilization and suffered losses, as well as damage to the pipeline system. According to Belarusian Deputy Prime Minister Ihar Lyashenka, the cost of oil-damaged equipment at the Mazyr refinery alone is about $30 million. Due to poor quality oil, Poland and Ukraine refused to accept it and suspended transit through their territory.

The total damage to Belarus from poor-quality Russian oil can be from $ 271.3 million to $ 435.3 million, the Russian newspaper Vedomosti reported.

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