The authorities of Russia and Belarus had resolved the gas dispute. This was stated by the head of state Vladimir Putin at a press conference following talks with President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, reports “Interfax”.
“We found a scheme in which we maintain our approach brings together our views on prices”, — said Putin.
The Russian President said that the parties “found the possibility of mutual concessions” and agreed on the prospects of cooperation in the next three years. He also said that within ten days, Russia and Belarus finally reached understanding on all differences.
Putin said that Moscow and Minsk are ready for 1 January to develop rules for a common gas market. By 2024, the parties plan to negotiate the signing of an intergovernmental agreement in the framework of the Eurasian economic community.
Alexander Lukashenko, in turn, said at a press conference, Putin expressed its readiness to refinance the debt of Minsk. He did not specify what kind of debt it is.
“The President [of Russia] promised that within today and tomorrow he will give appropriate instructions on this issue”, — said Lukashenko.
Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich at a press conference said that Russia may start supplying crude oil to Belarus in April. He assured that Moscow is doing everything possible to arrange delivery for an estimated 24 million tons per year. At the same time Minsk must pay to “Gazprom transgaz Belarus” — “daughter” of “Gazprom” a debt in $726 million
Deputy Prime Minister said that “Gazprom” from 2018 to late 2019 will provide Belarus a discount in the form of the reduction coefficient to the price formula for gas. Dvorkovich did not name the exact amount of the discount, explaining that to disclose these data do not allow corporate standards.
In addition, the presidents of the two countries back to the discussion of ideas to create by 2024 single gas market within the EurAsEC. To that end, by January 1, 2018, to develop joint rules by a single gas market.
Starting in 2016, Belarus is negotiating with Russia on reducing gas prices. The Republic insisted on the equal export prices and wanted to pay $73 per 1 thousand cubic meters of Russian gas instead of $132. In response to the shortfall in Belarus about $300 million for the delivered Russian gas in the second half of 2016 has reduced the supply of duty-free oil to the Republic with the planned 24 million tonnes to 18 million tonnes on Monday, the Minister of energy Alexander Novak said the restoration of oil supplies to Belarus in full volume at 24 million tons per year. It is only necessary to observe the formalities — “to amend an intergovernmental agreement, in private,” he said (quoted by “Interfax”).
Deputy General Director of Fund of national economic security Alexey Grivach believes that Lukashenka did not make sense abut on gas, as related losses were higher than “savings” in part-payment of gas, so he initially went to St. Petersburg with the intention to bring the relations between the two countries from the clinch. “Judging from the fragmentary statements, the President decided to fall back to formula, under which Belarus repays the debt under the contract, and at the intergovernmental level, Minsk will be assisted to cushion the effect for the Belarusian consumers,” he said. And about the transition to equal income prices for electricity and the formation of the common market, the parties will continue to negotiate in the working mode.
Belarus is the leader in the Russian investment among the countries of the Eurasian economic Union. In different years the amount of “total net of support” from Russia ranged from 11 to 27% of the Belarusian GDP, from IMF data provided .
Despite this, Lukashenka, in 2014, refused to recognize the annexation of Crimea and self-proclaimed republics DNR and LC. In 2015, he ignored the instructions of Putin to build a Russian air base in Belarus. In may 2016 between Belarus and Russia dispute arose due to the untimely and incomplete payment of gas supplied to Belarus. Although 10 of October, Lukashenka said Russia and Belarus had settled the issue, the debt for the gas supplied and has not been paid, and by January reached $550 million as a result, Russia has restricted oil supplies to Belarus.
In February Belarus has found an alternative to Russian oil, signed a contract with the Iranian NIOC.
24 February 2017 Vice-Premier of Belarus Vladimir Semashko announced the negotiation of agreements between Moscow and Minsk over gas. He then added that Minsk expects that on January 1, 2025 all of the gas that “we will import will be equal to the price of the Belarusian-Russian border”. From the beginning of 2016 Minsk leads complex negotiations with Moscow on reducing gas prices. The Belarusian side would like to pay $73 per 1 thousand cubic meters instead of $132.