As Minsk valued the Azerbaijani oil at a low rate, Baku decided to drop the idea of cooperation in this field, Head of Azerbaijan’s Center of Oil Researches Ilham Shaban states.
According to Shaban, in 2016, Azerbaijan sent to Belarus only one batch (over 500,000 tons). In 2017, the country halted supplies.
“Belarusian media report the government banked on buying Azerbaijani oil for only $30 per barrel. That is the same price at which Belarus imports Russian oil. But Azerbaijan sells oil at a free-market price,” the expert said.
In his opinion, the issue of oil be part of ‘social’ or ‘intergovernmental’ projects.
“That is, any concessions are out of the question, even if there are warm and friendly relations between the importer and the exporter. We may not allow a discount, but we can guarantee the delivery of high-quality fuel which meets European standards,” Shaban stressed.
The further the exporter is located, the higher the oil price will be, the head of The Oil Research Center warned.
“Therefore, it is fair to assume that the partnership with Iran will hardly be long. Iranians are highly likely to carry out two or three deliveries to Belarus, and after that their cooperation will end.”
In mid February, news Reuters reported that Belarus had bought 600,000 barrels (80,000 tonnes) of Iranian Light and Heavy crude oil from National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) for loading in February. Belneftekhim, the Belarusian State Concern for Oil and Chemistry, did not confirm the report, but stressed that the company was busy with fulfilling the presidential order to diversify oil deliveries.
In the second half of 2016, Russia cut exports to Belarus and is threatening further cuts this year over a row about gas pricing between Minsk and Moscow. The ‘gas war’ has already cost Belarus 0.3% of GDP. According to the Russian side, Belarus’s debt reached $550,000.
- Knife in the back for Kyiv, fraternal kisses for Moscow: Belarus in search for oil alternatives (ENG video)
- Frenemies? Russia may sue Belarus for raising oil transportation tariffs
- Russia’s supplies not enough: Belarus buys over 80K tons of oil from Azerbaijan