Lev Margolin: For cheap oil Russia will demand cheap property
On Friday it was announced that Belarus has received favorable oil prices for four years. Volumes of oil supplies for refining increased by 12%, and prices in Belarus decreased by approximately $400 per ton, which is close to domestic prices in Russia.
Chairman of "Belneftekhim" Igor Zhilin says it enables Belarus to refine oil in a more cost-effective way and get more income. UDF.BY asked Deputy Chairman of the United Civil Party Lev Margolin to comment on this information.
Answering the question, what is a purpose of the made discount, the politician pointed out on the intention of Russian investors to reduce by this step the prices for themselves in future privatization of assets.
- Most likely it's about the position of "throw in front and you will find behind". Government is preparing a package of 2.5 billion for privatization in the current year, which corresponds to the obligations owed to EurAsEC bank. Accordingly, the question about the prices of assets offered in this list may arise. It's clear, the main buyer of these excises are Russian companies, and for them (including the Russian Federation) the price is important: whether arms will be twisted for every million or prices will be reasonable. It seems to me, favorable oil prices are designed to give the Russian Federation such a trump card: here we bated you the oil prices, but you don't argue on the prices of property for sale.
There is a possibility of the final transition of Belarusian oil refineries under the control of Russia.
- One of the oil refineries has already been bonded. In less than one year a period of repayment of $1 billion will come, and most likely this pledge will go into hands of the Russian Federation: it's 51% stake in Novopolotsk Refinery. And Mozyr Refinery, already a long time ago hasn't belonged entirely to the State.
Counting the money, which Belarus will save due to this discount, complicate fluctuations in world oil prices. But regardless of fluctuations in prices, it will be "sufficiently serious money", the politician said.
Profitability of oil refineries depends also on the domestic prices and excise taxes on petroleum products, i.e, the solution of this question is fully in the hands of state. But it's not so important: "Profitability doesn't really matter here: when it was high, the government anyway took away the superprofit as rental income, as budget income".
It's noteworthy that if the oil companies is bought by Russia, Belarus is interested in their minimum profitability, as excises completely stay in the state, but profits it will have to share with the owners.
"Therefore, it will also be a constant subject of bargaining between the government and Russian investors", Lev Margolin concluded.