MINSK, September 26. /TASS/. Belarus is forced to search for alternatives to Russia’s oil supplies amid the tax maneuver in the Russian oil sector, President Alexander Lukashenko said in an interview with Ukrainian media outlets on Thursday.
"Those are not levers of pressure, that is a search for alternatives," he was quoted as saying by the BelTA news agency.
Minsk specified three oil import options alternative to Russia at the talks with Moscow, the president explained. "I put it straightforwardly at the talks: we have three options and are considering oil supplies to our plants. Moreover, we are mainly upgrading those plants this year. They will be profitable when we buy expensive oil in the Mediterranean or in the Black Sea, or in the Baltic Sea. We will buy, refine and will not be out of pocket," he said. "Take, say, Iranian, US, Saudi (oil) or from the Arab Emirates," he said noting the recent talks with representatives of the UAE’s leadership. "Do you (Russia) need this? You are going to lose the market, at least 20-25 mln tonnes. I am sure (you) do not. Then let us reach agreements," Lukashenko said.
He added that as of today Minsk considers potential reverse oil supplies from Europe to Belarusian refineries via the Druzhba oil pipeline beneficial.