Belarus and Russia have agreed that the principle of equal profitability for Russian natural gas deliveries will be introduced in 2014 or 2015, Belarusian First Deputy Prime Minister Uladzimir Syamashka told reporters in Minsk on Friday, commenting on the results of top-level Belarusian-Russian talks held in Moscow on the previous day.
As Mr. Syamashka said, he and Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin were tasked with working out all disagreements concerning relations between the two countries in the gas sphere. "There is understanding that it is necessary to find a compromise in order to implement the principle of synchronous transition to the principle of equal profitability by 2014-15," Mr. Syamashka said.
He predicted that the talks would be difficult. "However, good will was expressed at the meeting on the part of both Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin," he noted.
Under a five-year contract signed on December 31, 2006, Gazprom’s gas sales to Belarus were to become equally profitable with those to the rest of Europe in 2011.
The Russian government originally planned to start applying the principle of equal profitability to domestic customers in 2011 as well, but the global economic crisis prompted it to abandon those plans. That gave Minsk grounds to demand that Belarus should continue receiving Russian natural gas at reduced prices, as the two countries form the Union State.
This year’s Russian gas price for Belarus has averaged out at $146 per 1000 cubic meters.