In Q1 2016, only 4 mln tons of oil will be shipped to Belarus instead of the planned 4.5 mln. According to the influential Russian newspaper Kommersant, such decision is coming from the fact that Minsk failed to clear its $400 mln debt for Russian gas.
An updated delivery schedule was handed over to the Belarusian side on December, 28 and Belarus expressed its discontent with the decision, Kommersant reports. If the trend continues, Belarus may get only 16 mln tons of oil instead of the expected 18 mln.
Last year Moscow cut oil supplies by 20%, compared to those in 2015. According to Belarusian Prime Minister Andrey Kabyakou, the cut contributed to the economic decline in the country.
The oil and gas conflict between Russia and Belarus has been running on for 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 is 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.
Russia is not going to make any concessions , experts say. Just the contrary, it demands that Minsk should abide by the terms of the agreement. On December 29, Belarusian Deputy Prime Minister Uladzimir Syamashka said that the compromise on oil and gas issues would be reached in Q1 2017.
Meanwhile, Belarus gas debt is reaching $500 mln.