Moscow fully agreed to Minsk's proposals for oil supplies to Belarus, said Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, during a government meeting to discuss operations of Belarusian oil refineries.
"I instructed government officials to review the new proposals of the Russian Federation on the supply of hydrocarbons. They came from the Russians three days ago. I understand that the Russians have completely met our requirements for oil supplies?" asked Lukashenko.
The head of the Belarusian President’s administration, Igor Sergeyenko confirmed this and said that Russia's proposals were discussed at the meeting of the Belarusian government working group.
Since the beginning of the year, there have been hardly any deliveries of Russian oil to Belarusian oil refineries through the Druzhba oil pipeline. Minsk does not agree with the price offered by Russian oil companies.
At the end of December 2019, Russia and Belarus were unable to reach an agreement on the terms for oil transit. Moscow has stopped deliveries as of January 1, and Minsk temporarily suspended its oil products exports, although this was resumed by mid-January. Lukashenko said that if Russia makes its oil too expensive, Belarus will be forced to look for alternative supplies, including the reverse transit of Saudi or US oil through Poland.
In mid-January, Belarusian First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Krutoy said that Minsk considers it inexpedient to continue overpaying Russian companies for oil and is looking for suppliers in other countries. It was later learned that Belarus had bought 80,000 tons of oil from Norway, and that Lukashenko had instructed the government to sign a supply contract with Kazakhstan.
In mid-December, Belarusian Finance Ministry Maksim Yermolovich signed an agreement to take an urgent 3.5 billion yuan loan (around $500 million) from the Shanghai branch of the China Development Bank. Previously it was reported that Belarus had requested such a loan from Russia but had failed to reach an agreement.