Belarus urges Russia to gas price discount

Belarus is looking for a 50% discount on the price it pays for Russian gas. Minsk wants to sign a new agreement with Gazprom for the supply and transit of gas which would cost the country just $150 per thousand cubic metres.

­Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko will meet Russia’s Dmitry Medvedev on Friday and the gas deal is likely to be on the agenda. Belarus is offering the half of the state gas transit monopoly Beltranzgaz Russia’s Gazprom doesn’t already own for $2.5 billion.

In return Gazprom will halve the price it charges Belarus for gas."We have already sold part of it for $2.5 billion. Russia does not call this appraisal into question. The other half of Beltransgaz shares will be sold to Russia for $2.5 billion” Belarus's First Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Semashko said.

According to Semashko, Russia is prepared to sign the new contract and take over Beltransgaz."These documents have undergone intra-state procedures, they have been coordinated with all of our ministries and agencies. There were some non-fundamental, minor flaws. We settled them with the help of energy ministers,” he said.

The Russia–Belarus gas dispute escalated in 2007 when Russian state-owned gas supplier Gazprom demanded an increase in gas prices paid by Belarus from $46 per thousand cubic metres in 2006 to $100 in 2007 compared to $290 per thousand cubic metres paid by Germany. .The gas contract between Russia and Belarus expires on January 1, after which Belarus is due to pay $300 per thousand cubic metres while Europe still has to pay the market rate of well over $400 per thousand cubic metres.

Russian is the main energy supplier for Belarus given that each year Russia is exporting around 20 billion cubic metres of gas and 21.5 million cubic metres of crude oil.