Belarusian state conglomerate, Russian pipeline operator decline to reveal terms of new oil price deal
26 января 2011, 14:35
The Belarusian State Petrochemical Industry Concern (Belnaftakhim) and Russia's Transneft oil pipeline monopoly declined on Wednesday to disclose the terms of an oil supply deal reached earlier this week.
On January 25, Russia resumed crude deliveries to Belarus after the two countries hammered out a new price deal. Russian crude had not been delivered to Belarus since January 1.
When reached by BelaPAN on Wednesday, Belnaftakhim spokeswoman Maryna Kastsyuchenka would not discuss the deal's details citing secrecy reasons. "These are business issues. We have not made and will not make this information public," she said.
Transneft spokesman Igor Dyomin also declined to speak about the terms of the deal.
Unconfirmed reports suggest that the Belarusian government was forced to accept Russia's terms after the country's two refineries had nearly run out of oil and were on the brink of halting operation.
Under a deal struck by the two countries in December, Russian oil is to be supplied to Belarus free of duty this year, while Minsk, in exchange, is to give Moscow all revenues from its export duty on petroleum products made from Russian crude.
Belarus wants Russia to supply 21.7 million tons of oil this year, including 18 million tons through pipelines. Despite the new oil trade arrangement, however, the two countries were locked until Tuesday in a dispute about the price of crude to be supplied to Belarus this year.
In particular, some Russian oil suppliers were said to be insisting on adding another $45 to the per-ton price of crude destined for Belarus, which they said would make oil shipments to the country and elsewhere equally profitable.