Updated at 17:19,07-01-2021

Russian Energy Minister: Supplying Belarus with oil products is not practical


Belarus is ‘self-sufficient’ due to processing of Russian oil and oil products, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said.

In his opinion, it is ‘inexpedient’ to provide our country with oil products. At the moment, the volume of petroleum products supply for the year of 2019 is being discussed and defined, the top official added.

In August, Reuters reported that Russia intended to cut supplies of duty free oil and gas to Belarus in Q4 2018 referring to ‘budget losses’. According to the agency, Moscow was about to block paying the last tranche of the Eurasian Stabilization and Development Fund loan and suspend transferring $1 bn of the Russian loan to Minsk. Moreover, they were also going to freeze duty payments for Russian crude oil to the Belarusian budget. In 2019, Russia may not offer an expected new loan to Belarus, Reuters said with reference to its own sources close to the Kremlin.

Reuters’ information about the suspension of loan disbursements and the possible blockade of oil supplies may be just a means of pressure on Minsk. In January-May 2018, Belarus has received 18 mln tons of Russian oil. According to Russian-Belarusian agreements, Minsk has the right to export 6 mln tons abroad. The conditions of oil trade are so favourable for Belarus that the raw material goes from Russia duty-free. And instead of the Federation’s budget, the Russian export duty goes to Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s cash office. In total, $2.5 bn, or even 5% of Belarusian GDP. In practice, this is a kind of Moscow subsidizing and buying Belarusian authorities’ loyalty. But the authorities began to trespass. According to the Russian oilers, the Belarusian side re-export Russian oil (as well as liquid gas) to the West via the Baltic countries and Ukraine with the help of shady companies. Since the beginning of the year, the Belarusian re-export has tripled and according to the Russians, it has exceeded the agreed limits.