Belarus adjusting to new gas prices
While Russian energy giant Gazprom says it is satisfied with the gas deal finally signed with Belarus in the last minutes of 2006, the response of the general public in Belarus is predominantly negative.
According to Gazprom's spokesman Sergey Kupriyanov, the company was “actively urging its Belarusian counterparts to finish negotiations in the outgoing year”.
Belarus agreed to pay $US 100 per 1,000 cubic meters of gas in cash – slightly below the $US 105 sought by Gazprom.
In return Belarus doubled the transit costs and service fees for Russian gas supplies to Europe via its territory.
Gazprom will also purchase a 50% stake in the Belarusian pipeline network, Beltransgaz. The deal is valued at $US 2.5 BLN, which will be paid over the next 4 years in equal instalments. By that time, the price of gas in Belarus is expected to reach the European market levels.
Belarusian Prime Minister, Sergey Sidorsky, said it would be hard for the country’s economy to adjust to the new prices and called on citizens to take part in the joint effort to prevent the possible negative consequences.