The Belarusian government has entered into talks with Russia’s Gazprom to prevent a "surge" in the price of natural gas next year, Belarus’ first deputy prime minister, Uladzimir Syamashka, said at a news conference in Russia’s Yekaterinburg on October 6.
Prime Minister Syarhey Syadorski has ordered the country’s energy minister to hold talks with Gazprom and draw the monopoly’s attention to "force majeure events that have arisen amid the crisis," Mr. Syamashka noted.
The Belarusian government will negotiate about a price within the pricing formula that was agreed upon by the two parties in 2007, he said.
"It is necessary to fix it today to prevent a surge in the gas price next year," Mr. Syamashka said.
The Belarusian government projects the price to be $166 per 1000 cubic meters next year.
In a report released in mid-August, Gazprom said that the contract price of Russian natural gas supplied to Belarus was $157.74 per 1000 cubic meters in the second quarter of 2009.
Aleksei Miller, head of the Russian monopoly, said last month that Belarus still owed Gazprom around $200 million for natural gas supplied to the country this year.
Under a five-year contract, signed with Gazprom on December 31, 2006, the price for Belarus was raised to $100 per 1000 cubic meters for 2007 compared with $46.68 in the previous two and a half years. The price was to gradually increase to the European market level by 2011. It was to be 67 percent of the level, excluding delivery costs, in 2008, 80 percent in 2009, 90 percent in 2010, and 100 percent in 2011.