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Russia’s Transneft says Belarus issued no notification about raising oil transit tariffs

Belarus’ Ministry of Anti-monopoly Regulation and Trade issued a resolution on September 28, 2016 raising tariffs on Russian oil transit by an average of 50%

MOSCOW, October 3. /TASS/. In violation of agreements, Belarus has not notified Russia’s Transneft about the off-schedule raising of tariff rates on transit of Russian oil, Transneft spokesman Igor Demin said on Sunday.

"Neither Gomeltransneft Druzhba nor Polotsktransneft Druzhba have notified Transneft about off-schedule raising of tariffs on transit of Russian oil via the Belarusian territory. Transneft has informed Russia’s Federal Anti-Monopoly Service about the breaches of the Belarusian side," he said.

Under the Russia-Belarus agreement on cooperation in the area of export of oil and oil products of January 12, 2007, tariffs on oil transit via Belarus are calculated on the basis of a special mechanism adopted by the two countries’ relevant authorities on January 27, 2010.

Thus, this mechanism was used to index oil transit tariffs till February 1, 2016, Demin said.

In his words, the mechanism provides for a possibility of off-schedule revision of tariffs in case of "considerable changes in the conditions of economic activities of Belarusian gas pipeline transport organizations, in case of force majeure events impacting these organizations’ economic and financial indices.

Nevertheless, before changing the tariffs, Belarusian pipeline companies are to notify Transneft which has two weeks to consider the new tariffs.

In case the companies fail to reach agreement on the new tariffs, their rate is fixed by Belarusian and Russian tariff regulation authorities with participation of pipeline companies within ten working days after the receipt of relevant documents.

If the tariff regulation authorities fail to reach agreement on tariff rates, the Belarusian authority sets the oil transit tariff rate by means of raising the current tariff rates by a year’s average index of consumer prices for the current year fixed in the Russian socio-economic development forecast multiplied by not more than three percent.

"Now, the Russian side, in point of fact, has been notified of the unilateral decision taken in violation of the current agreements, both the provisions of the intergovernmental agreement and the agreed tariff adjustment mechanism," Demin said.

Belarus’ ministry of anti-monopoly regulation and trade issued a resolution on September 28, 2016 raising tariffs on Russian oil transit by an average of 50% The resolution comes into force from October 11, 2016.

"Thus, as a matter of fact, the first two steps envisaged by the mechanism have been ignored by the Belarusian side," Demin underscored.