Updated at 11:50,16-10-2017

Belarus set again to raise transportation fees for Russian oil

Maryna Nosava, Naviny.by

Belarus set again to raise transportation fees for Russian oil
Belarus has notified Russia’s oil pipeline monopoly Transneft of its plans to raise the fees for the pipeline transportation of Russian crude oil through the country's territory by 20.5 percent on January 1, 2017, according to media reports.

When reached by BelaPAN on Friday, Belarusian government agencies refused to comment on the reports. However, Transneft spokesman Igor Dyomin confirmed that the company had been informed of the plans and was studying the new fees but saw so far "no grounds for the decision."

Mr. Dyomin went on to say that Transneft disagreed with the decision and would ask Russia's Federal Anti-monopoly Service (FAS) to study the new fees.

If the FAS does not accept the fees, the extent of a possible increase may not exceed the current year's expected inflation rate in Russia plus three percentage points, said Mr. Dyomin.

This is Belarus' second attempt to raise oil transportation fees in recent months.

In late September, the Belarusian government issued a directive ordering that the fee for the pipeline transportation of Russian crude oil through the territory of Belarus be raised by 50 percent on October 11.

The decision, seen as Minsk's response to Russia's move to cut oil exports to Belarus, was canceled days later, as the two countries appeared to have agreed to resolve their oil and gas dispute.

In early October, Belarus agreed to pay its $281-million gas debt to Russia in exchange for an increase in oil supply. A gas price agreement was said to have been reached as well.

However, Belarus has not paid the debt so far as the deal appears to have stalled.