‘Russia, Belarus have no issues unsettled’: Lukashenka, Putin solve oil and gas conflict

Russia and Belarus will settle issues in the oil and gas sphere within ten days, Vladimir Putin said on Monday after talks with his Belarus counterpart Alyaksandr Lukashenka.

“We agreed we would settle all our disputes issues in the oil and gas sphere. To be more exact, we not only negotiated, but settled them and agree on the way and timeframe to do that,” Putin said.

“We find an opportunity for trade-off and agreed upon our work in this sphere not merely in 2017 but also in 2018 and 2019,” he added.

Belarus and Russia regulated all the disputable issues in bilateral relations, Alyaksandr Lukashenka stressed.

After settling its $720 mln debt to Russia, Belarus will receive a discount for gas.

 “Oil supplies will be resumed more or less concurrently with payment of the underpaid amount of $726 mln. This will make possible for our Belarus partners to receive certain benefits,” Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich told reporters on Monday.

Gazprom will provide discounts to Belarus with a step-down coefficient to the price calculation formula for the period from 2018 – 2019, the official said. Bilateral relations after that period will depend on further negotiations, he added.

Russia may start supplying oil to Belarus already in April, according to the deputy prime minister.

The oil and gas conflict between Russia and Belarus lasted over a year. Two capitals failed to come to terms over payments for Russian gas delivered in 2016. Minsk was indignant at the fact that Russian consumers bought gas at subsidized prices. Belarus was seeking the same subsidies for domestic enterprises so that they could compete on the Russian market.

The conflict erupted as Belarus started to pay $73 per thousand cubic meters while the contract price for the Russian gas was $132.

In October, Belarus was late in paying the debt for gas. The government was to transfer to “Gazprom” $281 million. Later, it became known that Minsk had not transferred money for Russian gas, as it expected signing of ‘some’ agreements.

Against the backdrop of the gas dispute and a default on deliveries of petroleum products, Russia reduced the supply of oil to Belarusian refineries by 5.25 mln tons, which crushed the export of Belarusian oil products. In response to the Russia’s measures, from October 11, Belarus wanted to raise tariffs for the transit of Russian oil through Belarusian territory by 50%. Later this resolution was canceled in exchange for the restoration of the full volume of oil supplies from Russia.

The ‘gas war’ has already cost Belarus 0.3% of GDP.

belsat.eu, following TASS