Belarus gets oil as Lukashenka gets help from old friend

Belarusian oil refineries now have oil to process. However, it is supplied not by Transneft, a state-owned company, but by Russian private firms.

At 5 pm on Saturday, after a four-day break, the pumps started working and the oil reached Naftan. Our refineries received fuel from RussNeft and Neftisa. They belong to billionaire Mikhail Gutseriyev — number 28 on the list of the richest Russians.

Gutseriyev’s wealth is estimated by Forbes magazine at 3 billion 700 million dollars. This is a third of the annual budget of Belarus.

Gutseriyev’s business empire includes more than 50 companies. These are companies for oil and coal mining, construction companies, hotels, supermarkets and even TV channels and radio stations such as Radio Chanson.

Gutseriyev also has assets in Belarus. For $2 billion Slavkali is building a factory for potash salt mining in Lubanski district. Gutseriyev has invested $180 million in the construction of Minsk hotel Renaissance, a terminal at the airport, a business center, as well as a recreation center Krasnoselskoye near Minsk. Local residents and builders say it was created for Alyaksandr Lukashenka. The businessman also showed philanthropy in the sale of oil.

A ton of Russian oil cost $460 in the world markets last year. Our country bought it at a price of $368. Ten dollars of this amount was a premium, which Minsk paid to the exporter – the Russian state company Transneft. Gutseriyev agreed to supply oil to our country without this premium.

However, Belneftekhim did not name the price at which Russian private firms supply fuel to our refineries. As of January, Minsk has purchased 600 thousand tons. The authorities hope that by the end of the month the oil price negotiations with the Kremlin will be completed.

Alyaksandr Papko,