Oil ‘Friendship’ of Minsk and Warsaw

Polish oil and gas companies not only help to establish supplies of American oil to Belarus, but also can enter the Belarusian market as co-owners of the Mazyr refinery. This opportunity is discussed in the expert community of the Polish energy sector.

The pandemic comes and goes, but business remains. Polish oil concern Orlen has been working on a friendly takeover of Lotos group of companies for 2 years. When the process is completed, the strengthened Orlen will have the opportunity and even the need to expand into neighboring markets, including the east — this analytical article was published today by the influential portal biznesalert.pl. Its author is senior analyst of First Data Polska S.A. Mateusz Tsabak. He thinks that it will be easier for Poles to increase fuel supplies to Ukraine from Belarusian Mazyr.

“Depending on the economic situation, Belarusian authorities from time to time express their willingness to sell their stake in the Mazyr and Navapolatsk refineries. A good opportunity for the joint Orlen and Lotus will be in the further purchase of assets, including shares in the Mazyr refinery. Belarus is looking for alternative sources of raw materials to deliver there, using, among other things, Gdansk Naftoport co-owned by Orlen and Lotus,” writes Mateusz Tsabak.

The Belarusian authorities may well sell a quarter of these two refineries to the Poles, if it is not limited to competition for the Ukrainian market, but reaches the level of strategic cooperation, said expert of the Ukrainian Institute of the Future Ihar Tyshkevich.

“Apart from dividends, the main income will remain in Belarus. And if there are shareholders from the EU countries, this will, among other things, counterbalance Russia’s influence. Lukoil owns 25% of the Mazyr refinery,” reminds Tyshkevich.

Since the beginning of the year, Russia has been blocking oil deliveries by the Druzhba (Friendship) pipeline to Belarus, directly linking the new contract with concessions of Minsk in economic integration. Today, the state concern Belneftekhim reports that fuel exports fell by more than half in the first quarter — by 55.8%. The supplies returned when the Belarusian authorities started buying oil through Klaipeda and Odessa and building pipeline jumpers between Mazyr and Navapolatsk to be even less dependent on Russian oil. And so cooperation with Poland is an opportunity to buy raw materials via the same Druzhba but in reverse, from west to east.

“Politically, this factor and the possibility to increase oil pumping from alternative sources are very good trumps for Belarus in an aggressive dialogue with the Russian Federation, regardless of who will be president,” explains Ihar Tyshkevich.

The first tanker from the United States is sailing to Belarus through the Lithuanian Klaipeda. This time, there are 80 thousand tons to check the logistics. The Polish mediator company UNIMOT claims a quite competitive price. Supplies via pipeline through Gdansk could make American oil even cheaper for Belarus.

Yaraslau Stseshyk, Belsat