Russia's Gazprom on Thursday restored gas deliveries to Belarus to the full volume after confirming that the country had paid off its debt, Natalya Timakova, spokesperson for the Russian president, told reporters in Moscow.
She said that Gazprom CEO Aleksei Miller had informed President Dmitry Medvedev of the restoration of full-volume deliveries to Belarus in a telephone conversation.
Belarus paid its $187-million debt to Gazprom on June 23. Speaking to reporters in Minsk, Deputy Prime Minister Uladzimir Syamashka said that Minsk had borrowed $200 million and spent $187 million of the amount toward payment of the debt.
Belarus ran up the debt by paying at last year's price of $150 for 1000 cubic meters of gas supplied between January and April. Gazprom says that Belarus was to pay $169 for 1000 cubic meters of gas in the first quarter of the year and $185 in the second quarter. The price is expected to increase to $193 or $194 in the third quarter.
On June 21 Gazprom reduced deliveries to Belarus to 85 percent of the initial daily volume over the debt and the flow of gas to the country was cut to 40 percent of the original volume on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Minsk demanded that Gazprom should pay off a debt of $260 million for gas transit via Belarus by 10 a.m. June 24. "If this is not done, Belarus plans to stop the transit of hydrocarbon material," Mr. Syamashka warned at Wednesday's news conference.
According to him, Gazprom fully paid gas transit bills in the first 10 months of 2009 but then started to pay at $1.45 per 1000 cubic meters per 100 kilometers, whereas the rate was $1.74. From January through May 2010, Gazprom paid nothing at all and therefore accumulated a debt of $260 million, Mr. Syamashka said.
He stressed that Belarus had charged Gazprom the lowest gas transit price, which had made it possible for the Russian natural gas monopolist to derive a profit of up to $500 million.