In March, Belarus will receive its first batch of oil from Azerbaijan – 160,000 tons.
When Russia failed to reach an agreement with its “brother Belarus” on oil prices, it essentially lost this market, and gave Minsk an opportunity to select suppliers independently. As a result, Belarus has been receiving deliveries of black gold from other countries since January, eliminating Rosneft’s monopoly.
In January, Belarus received its first batch of Norwegian oil through the Lithuanian port of Klaipeda. A visit from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave the country hope that American oil could compensate fully for the Russian oil that is no longer being received. However, talk is one thing, and implementation is something else altogether. In this context, however, Azerbaijan has not taken long to turn talk into action.
Not so long ago, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said that the company Socar could start supplying Belarus with oil through trading operations. And now, come the end of February, Belarus is already ready to receive two tankers of Azerbaijani oil from Socar, with a total of 160,000 tons of oil.
One of the ways that the oil will be sent to Belarus’s Mozyr refinery is through the Odessa – Brody pipeline. The deliveries should be completed in March.
Little by little, Belarus is expanding the list of suppliers it can rely on, thereby minimizing the effect of a possible fuel crisis. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has also instructed the government to talk to Poland about using the Port of Gdansk for possible deliveries of Saudi oil, as well as the promised American oil.
It’s quite clear that, by letting pointless, shortsighted greed guide it, Moscow has opened a Pandora’s box. Not only has it lost the Belarusian market, it has given it over to a wide range of competitors, thereby losing its monopoly.