Minsk is close to reaching mutual understanding with Moscow regarding the price of Russian natural gas for Belarus and on exports of Russian oil to the country, Belarusian Prime Minister Andrei Kobyakov reported.
“We slightly contracted in July, (our gross domestic product fell) by 0.2%. But this happened specifically due to a 700,000 ton decrease in oil supplies to refineries. It turned out that (state petrochemical company) Belneftekhim had cut its industrial output, and corresponding wholesale trade in oil products also fell”, he said.
“But we hope that this is a temporary measure, negotiations are going on. We are very close to reaching an understanding with the Russian partners on the level of gas prices and on oil supplies to Belarus”, he said.
In July, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said Belarus owed Russian gas giant Gazprom $270 million. Gazprom said Minsk underpaid the company for gas, while Belarusian Energy Minister Vladimir Potupchik said then the fair price would be $73 per 1,000 cubic meters instead of $132.77. Minsk did not acknowledge the debt.
Russia also earlier reduced the supply volume of duty-free oil to Belarus due to payment arrears for gas and shortfalls in duty-free oil product shipments to Russia. Moscow and Minsk are in disputes over the issues. (Prime-TASS/Business World Magazine)
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