Photo: Hasan Jamali / AP
For the first time Belarus has acquired a batch of oil from Iran. Minsk is in search of alternatives to Russian oil supplies, which were cut due to unresolved dispute of the debt for gas
Belarusian state company “Belorusneft” has acquired 80 kt (about 600 thousand Barr.) oil from Iran (the seller was organized by the national Iranian oil company NIOC), Reuters reported, citing four people familiar with the source. According to the Agency, the transaction was the first in Minsk for the purchase of Iranian oil.
Oil from Iran, according to Reuters, was sold to the Polish “daughter” of “Belorusneft” — company Beloil Polska. The oil arrives in Odessa and the Latvian Ventspils, from where the railroad will go to Belarus, I specify two sources Reuters familiar with the situation.
According to Reuters, Belarus is forced to look for alternative sources of oil supply in the face of shrinking supplies of oil from Russia in connection with the unresolved dispute over gas debt of Minsk to Moscow.
On 3 February President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko said that the Belarusian authorities have filed a lawsuit against Russia in connection with the reduction of Russian oil supplies. “The dispute was only for gas, and they began to cut the oil. We appealed, of course, to the court in accordance with our agreements,” — said Lukashenko at the meeting with journalists. The Belarusian leader said that “we agreed (on oil supplies from Russia to Belarus) to 24 million tonnes annually to 18 million tons was reduced, and generally speaking, 12 million will supply”.
In January, Lukashenko demanded from the Belarusian government to find alternative sources of oil supply.
As reported by “Kommersant” in early January, citing informed sources, the Ministry of energy of Russia intends in the first quarter to cut oil supplies to Belarus by 12%, to 4 million tonnes from 4.5 million tonnes.
The gas dispute, which is associated with a reduction in oil supplies from Russia to Belarus began after the beginning of 2016, the parties agree to reduce tariffs on Russian gas. From January 2016 Belarus began to pay less unilaterally. At the end of 2016, the debt for gas of Minsk to Moscow was $425 million In 2016, Russia has resorted to the reduction of oil supply by putting in Belarus in the 4th quarter, 3 million tons of oil instead of originally planned 5.3 million tonnes.