Belarus expects to reach a compromise in an oil and gas dispute with Russia no later than in the first quarter of 2017, Belarusian Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Semashko said.
“There is a mutual understanding from both sides. We have all arguments and necessary instruments to fulfill a joint plan of action. We hope to reach a compromise decision on the oil and gas dispute no later than in the first quarter of 2017”, he said.
He said that a number of intergovernmental agreements were signed in October, a plan of corresponding actions was approved, and then some malfunction happened, and a road map was not taken for implementation for some reasons.
Belarusian state petrochemical company Belneftekhim CEO Igor Lyashenko said that Moscow and Minsk would continue negotiations to settle oil and gas disputes in 2017.
Energy Minister Alexander Novak said earlier that Russia reduced supplies of duty-free oil to Belarus due to payment arrears for gas and shortfalls in duty-free oil product shipments to Russia.
Novak said that Belarus owed gas giant Gazprom $270 million. Gazprom said Minsk underpaid the company, while Belarusian Energy Minister Vladimir Potupchik said that a fair price would amount to $73 per 1,000 cubic meters instead of $132.77. Minsk did not acknowledge the debt.
After negotiations on October 7, Russia agreed to cut the 2016 gas price and outlined a plan of further reductions for the next few years for Belarus, while Minsk agreed to redeem its debt for past deliveries. Potupchik said in October that the country planned to redeem its $281 million debt to Russia then, but Minsk was yet to redeem it.
Belarus earlier proposed to raise the tariff on Russian oil transit by 20.5% in 2017, and oil pipeline monopoly Transneft asked to increase the tariff by only 5.8-11.76%, depending on the pipeline.
Officials earlier said that Russia and Belarus had not managed to come to terms on the gas price, duty-free oil supply amount and tariffs on transit of Russian oil. (Prime/Business World Magazine)