Updated at 11:30,08-12-2016

Belarus pays for Russian natural gas at $160.5 per 1000 cubic meters, says First Deputy Prime Minister.

Russian natural gas costs Belarus $160.5 per 1000 cubic meters this year, Uladzimir Syamashka said Thursday, speaking at a meeting of the Energy Efficiency Department of the State Committee for Standardization.

Mr. Syamashka noted that Belarus had paid an average price of $165.7 the previous year and suggested making the maximum use of the current "gas pause" and increasing the efficiency of energy consumption because gas and electricity prices will resume rising "in two or three years." He noted that Ukraine paid for gas at $414 in 2012.

Mr. Syamashka said that Belarus had made significant progress in energy efficiency. In particular, he noted that the country’s GDP had increased by 150 percent in the past 15 years while energy consumption had grown by only 16.8 percent, and that the share of local fuels had increased from 17 to 25 percent in the past six years.