Belarus raises refined products transit costs by 12.7%

Belarusian state gas transportation company, Beltransgaz, and Russia's Gazprom have signed an additional agreement on gas transit across Belarus, according to Beltransgaz CEO, Vladimir Mayorov.

Mayorov said the new prices for 2010 would be $1.88 per 1000 cubic metres of gas per 100 kilometres adding that the most recent gas dispute is now over.

"We have complied with our commitments on internal wholesale markups, so settling all the disputed issues with Gazprom."

However, Russia and Belarus have still not agreed on overall gas and oil transit fees.

Last week Russia slashed gas supplies to Belarus over an unpaid debt, with Minsk, in turn, insisting on getting $260 million in transit fees from Gazprom threatening to cut off Russian energy supplies to Europe. Gazprom did pay what it considered its debt to Belarus, but calculated at the rate of $1.45, while Minsk asked for a $1.88 rate, meaning Russia was still $23 million in debt.

Though both sides are still arguing over how much money they owe, Aleksandre Nazarov, senior oil and gas analyst at Metropol, says there’s really little alternative to the route through Belarus for Gazprom to ship its production to Europe.

“In winter months, in January and February, the transportation system should be used in full capacity, so, as a result, Belarus could be excluded from this route only temporarily. The transit through Belarus is shorter than through Ukraine and, as a result, it’s cheaper. So, obviously Gazprom would like to carry less expenses transporting gas through Belarus than through Ukraine.”