Oil issues first. Work on Belarus-Russia integration roadmaps put on hold – FM

At the time being, Belarus and Russia are not discussing the roadmaps on deepening integration, Belarusian Foreign Minister Uladzimir Makey said on Thursday.

In his opinion, the sides should begin with settling oil issues and then ‘think about other things’.

According to the minister, the corresponding working group is not conducting its activities at the moment.

“There is no point in working on these roadmaps until these issues [with oil deliveries] are resolved,” state-run news agency BelTA quotes him.

Lukashenka says Belarus may count on US loan for new oil pipeline construction

On January 1, Russia stopped supplying oil to the refineries of Belarus due to the fact that Moscow and Minsk had not signed new contracts. Belarusian refineries continued to operate, but the production capacity utilization was reduced to a minimum technological level. Due to the lack of oil supplies from Russia, Belarus temporarily suspended exports of oil products.

Although Belarus is received oil from the companies of oligarch Mikhail Gutseriyev, who is friends with President Alyaksandr Lukashenka, there are still no agreements with the main Russian supplier companies (Rosneft, Surgutneftegaz, Gazpromneft). As a result, only 500 thousand tons of Russian oil were delivered to Belarus in January – one quarter of what was planned. The country’s refineries are short of raw materials. Belarus has even started taking technological oil from the Druzhba pipeline.

On February 7, Alyaksandr Lukashenka met with Vladimir Putin in Sochi. Following the talks, Deputy Head of Presidential Administration of Russia Dmitry Kozak said that Moscow would facilitate commercial agreements between consumers in Belarus and Russian oil companies, but would not regulate prices administratively.

Earlier, Alyaksandr Lukashenka instructed his staff to study the possibility of oil supplies from other countries. On January 14, Deputy Prime Minister of Belarus Dzmitry Krutoy said that the Belarusian Oil Company (BOC) had sent out commercial proposals for the purchase of oil to Poland, the Baltic States, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan.

First tanker with Russian oil for Belarus arrives in Klaipeda