Russia resumes oil supplies to Belarus

Russian oil giant Rosneft announced that it is resuming oil supplies to Belarus on the terms initially requested by Minsk, that is with a premium of $5 per ton, reported the news agency Interfax with reference to the representatives of the company.

"The company confirms that the decision to resume deliveries to Belarus was made on the terms that we initially offered to the Belarusian side, that is, with a premium of $5 per ton," the representative of the Russian company said.

Belarus has been conducting inconclusive negotiations with major Russian oil companies since the end of 2019 to ensure more favorable terms of oil supplies to Belarusian refineries. So far, oil supplies from Russia are limited to a narrow circle of small oil companies and decreased by 76% to 719 thousand tons in January-February.

Under these circumstances, Belarus began alternative oil imports through the Lithuanian port of Klaipeda by rail to the Naftan oil refinery in Novopolotsk and through the Ukrainian port of Odessa to the Mozyr refinery via the Odessa-Brody/Brody-Mozyr oil pipelines. In March, the supply of tanker oil to Belarus is expected to reach 570,000 tons.

In November 2019, Belarus imported a trial shipment of Kazakhstan's oil in the amount of 107.2 thousand tons. Oil from Kazakhstan cost $330.22 per ton or about $44 per barrel, according to Belstat data.

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.

  Rosneft, Russia, Belarus