Russia may cut oil exports to Belarus due to gas underpayment

Reduction of oil supplies to Belarus was due to underpayment, Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich told journalists on Thursday.

“Our Belarusian friends, unfortunately, underpay for gas, which affects the budget, because Gazprom is a large taxpayer. Of course, we have to seek compensation,” he said.

Earlier on Thursday, Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum said 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 compared with initial plans,” 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’.

According to Gazprom Deputy CEO Alexander Medvedev, the debt of Belarus for Russia’s gas supplies exceeds $200 mln.

Negotiating the gas price has been in progress since January. Taking into account ‘fluctuations of the Russian ruble in relation to the dollar’, the Belarusian side wants it to be $73 instead of the current $142 for 1,000 cubic metres.

In turn, Russia’s energy giant Gazprom considers it inexpedient to cut its gas prices for Belarus., following TASS