MINSK, October 16 (Itar-Tass) —— Belarus’ President Alexander Lukashenko does not rule out selling to Russia the Belarusian oil refineries if the republic receives access to production of Russian natural gas and oil.
“You want the oil refineries, which are like toys – beautiful, modern, European enterprises. If I agree to it, I would be accused here in Belarus of selling out. But there is a good variant: we are giving to you the oil refineries, do process your oil, and we shall be refining ours. But you let us as foreigners produce the natural gas,” he told a news conference for Russian media on Tuesday.
Presently, Belarusians consume “22 billion cubic metres of gas, so let us produce ten billion,” the president said. “Perhaps, it would be cheaper for us. Your gas is expensive, ours is cheap, the one we shall produce at fields you allocate for us, like you do for the British or Americans, on equal terms.”
An approach of the kind could be used for production of oil, he said. “Why in Venezuela we are producing oil with no problems?” He assured the audience that Belarusians “will be producing better than Russian companies, and you would never present any claims against us.”
The president said the republic may process about 23-24 million tonnes of oil. “Let us produce ten million tonnes, then we shall buy 14 from you on the terms you apply for BP, Shell and others. No. But why not? We are giving plants to you, and you are giving to us an option to produce oil and gas under Russian conditions for foreigners.”
He stressed there was not an answer why Russians would not agree to those conditions.