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Minsk looking for oil supply sources alternative to Russia via Ukrainian, Baltic ports

Russian oil supplies to Belarusian refineries will total 18 mln tonnes in 2019 as planned, according to the Belarusian state-run conglomerate executive

MINSK, October 29. /TASS/. Belarus is looking for ways to replace the Russian oil, considering the options of crude supplies from various regions of the world through the ports of Ukraine and the Baltic states, Belneftekhim Deputy Chairwoman Svetlana Gurina said in an interview with the SB. Belarus Today newspaper published on Tuesday.

"We have been looking for alternative crude supplies for quite a while. We are considering the possibility of supplies from CIS countries, the Middle East and Africa to our refineries both through Ukrainian ports and through the ports of the Baltic states," she reported.

Transport corridors are clear to the Belarusian side, Gurina claimed, adding though that "the decision will only be made if alternative supplies are economically viable." "I should note though that as the tax maneuver is being implemented and the Russian oil price approaches the global price alternative supplies will become increasingly attractive," she emphasized.

Belarus is looking for crude supplies alternative to those from Russia due to an increase in the oil price amid the ongoing tax maneuver in the Russian oil sector. Belarus insists on compensations for losses from deteriorating terms of oil sales, whereas Russia suggests that integration should be deepened in accordance with the Treaty on the Creation of a Union State of Russia and Belarus signed in 1999. According to the Belarusian Finance Ministry’s estimates, budget losses from implementation of Russia’s tax maneuver will total around $400 mln in 2019.

Russian oil supplies

Russia’s oil supplies to Belarusian refineries will equal 18 mln tonnes by the end of 2019 as planned, the Belneftekhim deputy chairwoman stated.

"Refining capacity utilization was reduced in the second quarter [due to the incident with contaminated oil] when crude was not delivered via pipelines. A set of measures was implemented, whereas now crude is supplied to refineries as planned, deliveries will stand at 18 mln tonnes by the end of the year," she said.

Oil will be refined until the end of the year considering the market environment and economic results’ estimation, Gurina pointed out. "Meanwhile we have not yet managed to reach the planned volumes of transported oil. I should note that due to changes in the conditions of economic activities for Gomeltransneft Druzhba connected with supplies of contaminated oil the Belarusian side has initiated an unscheduled tariff revision," Gurina stated.

In mid-April, the Belarusian concern Belneftekhim reported a sharp deterioration in the quality of the Russian oil running through the Druzhba pipeline, which supplies oil to Belarusian refineries and provides its transit to Europe via Belarus, Poland and Ukraine. Oil transit and refining were suspended and later restored. Minsk and Moscow started intergovernmental talks on compensation issues in May. On August 8, Minsk said that the Belarusian part of the Druzhba oil pipeline had been fully cleared of contaminated oil.