Sunday 25 June 2017 | 13:21

Russia decided to cut oil exports due to Belarus’ gas debts

18.06.2016  |  Economy
Russia decided to cut oil exports due to Belarus’ gas debts

Belarus purchases about 22-23 million of Russian oil annually.

"Our Belarusian friends, unfortunately, underpay for gas, which affects the budget, because Gazprom is a large taxpayer, Of course, we have to seek compensation," said Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich.

Earlier it became known that Russia’s oil supplies to Belarus may be slightly cut in the third quarter of this year.

"The current schedule implies a slight decrease (of oil supplies to Belarus - TASS) compared with initial plans," Energy Minister Alexander Novak said, adding that this is related to the capacity of the gas and oil transmission system.

In Minsk, such intentions later were called illegal, and Novak's statements "unfounded."

Gazprom Deputy CEO Alexander Medvedev said earlier that the debt of Belarus for Russia’s gas supplies exceeds $200 mln.

"There are arrears in payment to the Belarusian company (Gazprom Transgaz Belarus owned by Gazprom - TASS) from Belarus’ consumers. The backlog is rather serious, exceeding 200 (mln dollars)," TASS quotes him saying.

Last year the price of Russian gas for Belarus stood at $142.4 per 1,000 cubic meters. Meanwhile Minsk said there were reasons for reducing the price for gas in 2016. In January, Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich and his Belarusian counterpart Vladimir Semashko held talks but failed to agree on a gas price discount.

Head of Transneft Nikolay Tokarev said Russia is going to reduce oil supplies to Belarus by 5 mln tonnes for remaining six months, adding that the Belarusian side should fulfill its obligations on returning oil products to Russia in agreed volumes, which that do not do.

"Naturally, we often have shortfall in revenue for the Russian side, and it needs to be compensated by something. In particular, by reducing oil supplies. There is also the gas issue, but there are different problems, I think these questions are somehow related," Tokarev said.

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