The profit from refining Venezuelan oil may not go to Russia, but it is likely no one will notice this, says the economist Leanid Zayika. Besides, Lukashenka and Chavez’s project itself seems almost absurd.
On Tuesday, the president of Belarus said that all profits from the processing of Venezuelan oil at the Mazyr refinery should remain in Belarus, although more than 40% of its shares belong to Russian shareholders.
The head of the Analytical Centre "Strategy" Leanid Zayika thinks that this is "quite possible", even though the statute of the joint-stock company may include provisions that protect the owners of the capital.
According to the expert, having a blocking stake, the Belarusian authorities may distribute dividends in such a way or arrange so that Russia will be left without profit.
"It's possible to do so without any announcing. Typically, Belarusian joint stock companies work this way: managers take all the money and the owner of the capital receives pennies", said Leanid Zayika in an interview with www.udf.by.
However, "the Russian government has no illusions at all about the profits of Belarusian enterprises", says the economist. "As far as I know, there will not be mourning in the Kremlin. And most likely nobody will notice this."
The project of oil production in Venezuela, its transportation to Belarus and processing at local refineries, according to the expert, is "an absolutely pointless operation". "There is oil relatively not far from our country – in Russia and the Arab countries. But the project of Colonel Chavez and President Lukashenka is an anti-imperialist one. They see the United States and Russia as imperialists. As an anti-imperialist project, it will certainly be interesting to historians some day. For economists it is of no interest, because it is almost absurd."
The situation on the Mazyr refinery, which profitability is minus 22%, will not be improved with oil from Venezuela. As the expert believes, ten times more Venezuelan oil is necessary to bring the plant to full capacity.
"Therefore, this Venezuelan project is kind of ‘our answer to Chamberlain’. In this case, Chamberlain is Putin", said Leanid Zayika.