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MOSCOW, March 4. /TASS/. Russia and Belarus will develop a single gas market regulation by January 1, 2018, Russia’s Energy Ministry reported following the talks between presidents of the two countries attended by Russia’s Minister Alexander Novak.
The sides have discussed the pressing issues of bilateral relations, the report said. Particularly, presidents of Russia and Belarus have reached an agreement on cooperation principles in the oil and gas sector until 2019.
"Heads of the countries confirmed their intention to develop basic rules and conditions on the creation of a single electricity market by July 2019, as well as a single gas market regulation by January 1, 2018. Also, heads of the states have agreed to sign a single gas market intergovernmental agreement within the Eurasian Economic Union," the report said.
The sides have settled the dispute in the oil and gas sector. Following the talks a decision was made to review intergovernmental papers related to the gas and oil cooperation. After they are initialed the Belarusian side will pay $726 mln worth of debt to Gazprom.
During the meeting, the sides also decided to resume oil supplies to Belarus amounting to 24 mln tonnes per year.
As reported earlier Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said that Gazprom would provide discounts to Belarus with a step-down coefficient to the price calculation formula for the period from 2018 to 2019. Bilateral relations after that period will depend on further negotiations, he added. Russia may start supplying oil to Belarus already in April, Dvorkovich said.
Belarus and Russia have been negotiating a reduction in gas prices since early 2016. Minsk insisted on lowering the price of Russian natural gas from $132 to $73 per 1,000 cubic meters and demanded that Russia switch to equal netback pricing. In response to underpayment of around $300 mln for Russian gas supplies Moscow cut its tax-free oil supplies to Belarus by more than a third.