Russian stance at oil talks hurts customs union — Belarus source

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Russian stance at oil talks hurts customs union — Belarus source

Russia's position at negotiations on a 2010 agreement for oil deliveries to Belarus is seriously undermining the new Customs Union between Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan, a Belarusian government source said on Saturday.
The Customs Union between the three former Soviet states came into force on January 1, although many aspects of the project will only be finalized over the coming year.
Belarus benefited from significant discounts on Russian oil imports in 2009, and is seeking a similar deal this year. Russia says it is willing to eliminate all duties on oil supplied to Belarus for domestic consumption, but wants oil bound for European markets to be subject to duty.
"What the Russian delegation of Russia suggested at the negotiations on the terms of oil trade - that oil supplies to Belarus carry a duty throughout 2010 - practically nullifies the treaty," the Belarusian representative said of the customs deal.
Russia exported around 25 million tons of oil to Belarus last year, but only 5-6 million tons were for domestic consumption. The rest was re-exported, some after passing through one of the country's two oil refineries.
Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin suggested on December 18 that Belarus could import the domestic volumes duty-free due to the "brotherly relations" between the two countries, leaving the remaining 15 million tons subject to export duties.
The top Russian official warned as talks broke down on Thursday that with no new agreement signed, Belarus would have to pay full customs duties on the oil it imports.
The Belarusian government source told journalists on Saturday that Belarus had been assured a discount comparable to last year's for the first six months of 2010, until an agreement could be finalized on the sharing of customs duties received at the external border of the union.
He added that under the customs pact duties could only be levied on exports at the external border of the union.
"Even if the volumes of oil intended specifically for Belarus are supplied duty-free, then, under the treaty, it does not mean that a tariff can be set for the remaining oil within the Customs Union. [That] can only take place at the outer border of the Customs Union," he said.
He said that Belarus saw no future in a structure that unified many aspects of trade but had different prices for raw materials and therefore competitive differences between Russian and Belarusian manufacturers.
"If anyone had the illusion that we could build a customs union and common economic space where the partners in integration would be subject to unequal conditions, then he should have revealed these intentions straight away and all this fuss would not have been necessary," the Belarusian representative said.
The Russian government has said it did everything possible to reach an agreement Belarus on the issue before the start of the year, and Belarusian representatives have been invited to Moscow to continue the search for a solution.
It added that Russian oil suppliers would fulfill all their obligations under existing contracts, both with European and Belarusian customers, but warned that from January 1 oil exports to Belarus would be subject to customs duties.
Russian stance at oil talks hurts customs union ? Belarus source | Top Russian news and analysis online | 'RIA Novosti' newswire
 

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Russia, Belarus to continue oil transit talk on Monday

Russia and Belarus will continue discussions on Monday as they attempt to resolve differences over the supply and transit of oil in 2010, an aide to Russia's energy minister said on Sunday.
"The negotiation process is not finished. Negotiations will continue tomorrow," Irina Yesipova told RIA Novosti.
The dispute has raised fears in Germany and Poland that supplies may be affected, as they were during a similar dispute in 2007, but Yesipova earlier said that deliveries via Belarus were continuing without disruption while the negotiations were ongoing.
Mikhail Barkov, vice-president of Russia's Transneft oil pipeline monopoly, said on Sunday that oil transit via Belarus would not be reduced under any circumstances, but oil deliveries to the former Soviet republic depended on Minsk's position.
Belarus benefited from significant discounts on Russian oil imports in 2009, and is seeking a similar deal this year. Russia says it is willing to eliminate all duties on oil supplied to Belarus for domestic consumption, but wants oil bound for European markets to be subject to duty.
A Belarusian government source said on Saturday that Russia's position at negotiations on a 2010 agreement for oil deliveries to Belarus is seriously undermining the new Customs Union between Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan.
Russian officials have said that until an agreement is reached, Belarus will have to pay the full duty on oil it receives.
Russia, Belarus to continue oil transit talk on Monday | Top Russian news and analysis online | 'RIA Novosti' newswire
 

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Russia, Belarus to continue oil transit talk on Monday

Russia and Belarus will continue discussions on Monday as they attempt to resolve differences over the supply and transit of oil in 2010, an aide to Russia's energy minister said on Sunday.
"The negotiation process is not finished. Negotiations will continue tomorrow," Irina Yesipova told RIA Novosti.
The dispute has raised fears in Germany and Poland that supplies may be affected, as they were during a similar dispute in 2007, but Yesipova earlier said that deliveries via Belarus were continuing without disruption while the negotiations were ongoing.
Mikhail Barkov, vice-president of Russia's Transneft oil pipeline monopoly, said on Sunday that oil transit via Belarus would not be reduced under any circumstances, but oil deliveries to the former Soviet republic depended on Minsk's position.
Belarus benefited from significant discounts on Russian oil imports in 2009, and is seeking a similar deal this year. Russia says it is willing to eliminate all duties on oil supplied to Belarus for domestic consumption, but wants oil bound for European markets to be subject to duty.
A Belarusian government source said on Saturday that Russia's position at negotiations on a 2010 agreement for oil deliveries to Belarus is seriously undermining the new Customs Union between Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan.
Russian officials have said that until an agreement is reached, Belarus will have to pay the full duty on oil it receives.
Russia, Belarus to continue oil transit talk on Monday | Top Russian news and analysis online | 'RIA Novosti' newswire
 

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Russia, Belarus again fail to agree oil deal - Belarusian source | Top Russian news and analysis online | 'RIA Novosti' newswire

Officials from Russia and Belarus held a second day of talks on Thursday to try to resolve the dispute over 2010 oil deliveries, but again failed to reach an agreement, the Belarusian government news agency Belta reported.
A source in Minsk's delegation said the sides had agreed to take a break from discussions to allow for "further consultations."
The dispute between Moscow and Minsk has raised fears in Germany and Poland that supplies may be affected, as they were during a similar dispute in 2007, but so far there has been no disruptions to oil transit via Belarus, and deliveries are occurring to both Belarus's oil refineries.
Belarus benefited from significant discounts on Russian oil imports in 2009, and is again seeking preferential treatment this year. Russia says it is willing to eliminate all duties on oil supplied to Belarus for domestic consumption, but wants oil bound for European markets to be subject to duty.
An earlier set of talks ended on New Year's Eve without agreement, picking up again on Wednesday. Russia has warned Belarus that it will have to pay full duty on all oil delivered while no agreement is in place.
"Belarusian negotiators were ready for a reasonable compromise, but Russia's side stuck to its previous position, which greatly complicated the negotiations," the source said.
On Tuesday Belarus has lowered its crude oil export duty from $271 to $267 per metric ton from January 1.
Russia exported around 25 million tons of oil to Belarus last year, but only 5-6 million tons were for domestic consumption. The rest was re-exported, some after passing through one of the country's two oil refineries.
 

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Belarusian oil negotiators fly back to Minsk - Russian official | Top Russian news and analysis online | 'RIA Novosti' newswire

The Belarusian delegation that came to Moscow for talks on a pricing structure for Russian oil deliveries to Belarus in 2010 is flying back to Minsk for consultations, a Russian official said.
Irina Yesipova, an aide to Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko, said the talks were not finished and could continue remotely.
"The representatives of the Belarusian delegation intend to fly to Minsk for consultations to clarify details. It's possible the negotiations will be remote in nature for some time," Yesipova said.
"There is a significant rapprochement between the parties on a number of issues," she added.
A source in the Belarusian delegation earlier told the Belarusian state news agency Belta that the sides had agreed to take a break from discussions to allow for "further consultations."
The source blamed the Russian position for the impasse.
"Belarusian negotiators were ready for a reasonable compromise, but Russia's side stuck to its previous position, which greatly complicated the negotiations," he was quoted as saying.
Belarus benefited from significant discounts on Russian oil imports in 2009, and is again seeking preferential treatment this year. Russia says it is willing to eliminate all duties on oil supplied to Belarus for domestic consumption, but wants oil bound for European markets to be subject to duty.
An earlier set of talks ended on New Year's Eve without agreement, picking up again on Wednesday. Russia has warned Belarus that it will have to pay full duty on all oil delivered while no agreement is in place.
The dispute between Moscow and Minsk has raised fears in Germany and Poland that supplies may be affected, as they were during a similar dispute in 2007, but so far there have been no disruptions to oil transit via Belarus, and deliveries are occurring to both Belarus's oil refineries.
Russia exported around 25 million tons of oil to Belarus last year, but only 5-6 million tons were for domestic consumption. The rest was re-exported, some after passing through one of the country's two oil refineries.
 

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Belarusian oil negotiators fly back to Minsk - Russian official | Top Russian news and analysis online | 'RIA Novosti' newswire

The Belarusian delegation that came to Moscow for talks on a pricing structure for Russian oil deliveries to Belarus in 2010 is flying back to Minsk for consultations, a Russian official said.
Irina Yesipova, an aide to Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko, said the talks were not finished and could continue remotely.
"The representatives of the Belarusian delegation intend to fly to Minsk for consultations to clarify details. It's possible the negotiations will be remote in nature for some time," Yesipova said.
"There is a significant rapprochement between the parties on a number of issues," she added.
A source in the Belarusian delegation earlier told the Belarusian state news agency Belta that the sides had agreed to take a break from discussions to allow for "further consultations."
The source blamed the Russian position for the impasse.
"Belarusian negotiators were ready for a reasonable compromise, but Russia's side stuck to its previous position, which greatly complicated the negotiations," he was quoted as saying.
Belarus benefited from significant discounts on Russian oil imports in 2009, and is again seeking preferential treatment this year. Russia says it is willing to eliminate all duties on oil supplied to Belarus for domestic consumption, but wants oil bound for European markets to be subject to duty.
An earlier set of talks ended on New Year's Eve without agreement, picking up again on Wednesday. Russia has warned Belarus that it will have to pay full duty on all oil delivered while no agreement is in place.
The dispute between Moscow and Minsk has raised fears in Germany and Poland that supplies may be affected, as they were during a similar dispute in 2007, but so far there have been no disruptions to oil transit via Belarus, and deliveries are occurring to both Belarus's oil refineries.
Russia exported around 25 million tons of oil to Belarus last year, but only 5-6 million tons were for domestic consumption. The rest was re-exported, some after passing through one of the country's two oil refineries.
 

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Russia, Belarus fail to agree on oil supplies | Top Russian news and analysis online | 'RIA Novosti' newswire

Russia and Belarus have failed to agree on Russian oil supplies to the ex-Soviet state, but are willing to continue negotiations, a spokesman for the Belarusian President has said.
Belarus benefited from significant discounts on Russian oil imports in 2009, and is again seeking preferential treatment this year. Russia says it is willing to eliminate all duties on oil supplied to Belarus for domestic consumption, but wants oil bound for European markets to be subject to duty. Russia has warned Belarus that it will have to pay full duty on all oil delivered while no agreement is in place.
"Belarusian and Russian delegations again failed to reach a compromise and to agree on the terms of oil supplies to Belarus," Alexander Timoshenko said.
The delegations of Russia and Belarus met on Saturday in the Russian government.
A source in the Russian president's administration said Dmitry Medvedev offered to supply duty-free some 6.3 million metric tons of oil for domestic consumption during the December 10 meeting with his Belarusian counterpart, Alexander Lukashenko. Belarus, however, requested Russia to supply up to 30 million metric tons of oil duty free, saying it would otherwise increase transit fees for Europe-bound oil from $3.9 to $45.
Russia exported around 25 million tons of oil to Belarus last year, but only 5-6 million tons were for domestic consumption. The rest was re-exported, some after passing through one of the country's two oil refineries.
A leading Russian expert in oil industry said Belarus would receive an annual profit of $1.8 billion from Russian oil supplies.
"Russia said it was set to further subsidize Belarusian economy be sending it 6.3 million [metric] tons of oil. Based on the current export duty of $267 per metric ton, would bring Minsk $1.8 million in profit annually," the expert, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said.
Belarus has lowered its crude oil export duty from $271 to $267 per metric ton from January 1.
The dispute between Moscow and Minsk has raised fears in Germany and Poland that supplies may be affected, as they were during a similar dispute in 2007, but so far there have been no disruptions to oil transit via Belarus, and deliveries are occurring to both Belarus's oil refineries.
 

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Russia, Belarus fail to agree on oil supplies | Top Russian news and analysis online | 'RIA Novosti' newswire

Russia and Belarus have failed to agree on Russian oil supplies to the ex-Soviet state, but are willing to continue negotiations, a spokesman for the Belarusian President has said.
Belarus benefited from significant discounts on Russian oil imports in 2009, and is again seeking preferential treatment this year. Russia says it is willing to eliminate all duties on oil supplied to Belarus for domestic consumption, but wants oil bound for European markets to be subject to duty. Russia has warned Belarus that it will have to pay full duty on all oil delivered while no agreement is in place.
"Belarusian and Russian delegations again failed to reach a compromise and to agree on the terms of oil supplies to Belarus," Alexander Timoshenko said.
The delegations of Russia and Belarus met on Saturday in the Russian government.
A source in the Russian president's administration said Dmitry Medvedev offered to supply duty-free some 6.3 million metric tons of oil for domestic consumption during the December 10 meeting with his Belarusian counterpart, Alexander Lukashenko. Belarus, however, requested Russia to supply up to 30 million metric tons of oil duty free, saying it would otherwise increase transit fees for Europe-bound oil from $3.9 to $45.
Russia exported around 25 million tons of oil to Belarus last year, but only 5-6 million tons were for domestic consumption. The rest was re-exported, some after passing through one of the country's two oil refineries.
A leading Russian expert in oil industry said Belarus would receive an annual profit of $1.8 billion from Russian oil supplies.
"Russia said it was set to further subsidize Belarusian economy be sending it 6.3 million [metric] tons of oil. Based on the current export duty of $267 per metric ton, would bring Minsk $1.8 million in profit annually," the expert, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said.
Belarus has lowered its crude oil export duty from $271 to $267 per metric ton from January 1.
The dispute between Moscow and Minsk has raised fears in Germany and Poland that supplies may be affected, as they were during a similar dispute in 2007, but so far there have been no disruptions to oil transit via Belarus, and deliveries are occurring to both Belarus's oil refineries.
 

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Russian oil supplies to, via Belarus unaffected by lack of deal | Top Russian news and analysis online | 'RIA Novosti' newswire

Russian oil supplies are continuing to and via Belarus to Europe despite the two countries' failure to sign an agreement for 2010, Belarus's state energy firm Belneftekhim said on Monday.
A Belarusian delegation left Moscow on Saturday without reaching a deal, reviving fears of supply cuts to the European Union. The former Soviet states blamed each other for the failure to reach a new agreement.
"Oil has been supplied for Belarus's oil refinery facilities and for transit as usual," Belneftekhim spokeswoman Marina Kostyuchenko said, adding the supplies have been carried out in line with "preliminary agreements."
Belarus benefited from major discounts on Russian oil imports in 2009, and is seeking preferential treatment this year.
Russia has said Belarus can only buy 6 million metric tons of oil for domestic consumption duty free. Minsk wants all Russian oil to be duty free, while Moscow now demands payment for crude re-exported to the EU.
Last year, Russia supplied some 25 million metric tons of oil to Belarus, including 5-6 million tons for domestic needs. A senior Russian official said Belarus has asked Russia to supply up to 30 million metric tons of oil duty free this year.
A dispute between Moscow and Minsk in 2007 led to disruptions in supplies to Poland and Germany.
Russia has had frequent disputes with its former Soviet neighbors over energy prices in recent years, as it has moved to bring tariffs closer to free market levels. Western powers have accused Russia of using energy as a political tool in relations with Ukraine and Belarus, major transit nations for its Europe-bound natural gas and oil flows.
 

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Russian oil supplies to, via Belarus unaffected by lack of deal | Top Russian news and analysis online | 'RIA Novosti' newswire

Russian oil supplies are continuing to and via Belarus to Europe despite the two countries' failure to sign an agreement for 2010, Belarus's state energy firm Belneftekhim said on Monday.
A Belarusian delegation left Moscow on Saturday without reaching a deal, reviving fears of supply cuts to the European Union. The former Soviet states blamed each other for the failure to reach a new agreement.
"Oil has been supplied for Belarus's oil refinery facilities and for transit as usual," Belneftekhim spokeswoman Marina Kostyuchenko said, adding the supplies have been carried out in line with "preliminary agreements."
Belarus benefited from major discounts on Russian oil imports in 2009, and is seeking preferential treatment this year.
Russia has said Belarus can only buy 6 million metric tons of oil for domestic consumption duty free. Minsk wants all Russian oil to be duty free, while Moscow now demands payment for crude re-exported to the EU.
Last year, Russia supplied some 25 million metric tons of oil to Belarus, including 5-6 million tons for domestic needs. A senior Russian official said Belarus has asked Russia to supply up to 30 million metric tons of oil duty free this year.
A dispute between Moscow and Minsk in 2007 led to disruptions in supplies to Poland and Germany.
Russia has had frequent disputes with its former Soviet neighbors over energy prices in recent years, as it has moved to bring tariffs closer to free market levels. Western powers have accused Russia of using energy as a political tool in relations with Ukraine and Belarus, major transit nations for its Europe-bound natural gas and oil flows.
 

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Belarus's Lukashenko sends letter to Russia's Medvedev on oil deal | Top Russian news and analysis online | 'RIA Novosti' newswire

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on Wednesday addressed a letter to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Belarus's position in regard to oil deliveries.
Belarus benefited from significant discounts on Russian oil imports in 2009, and is again seeking preferential treatment this year. Russia says it is willing to eliminate all duties on oil supplied to Belarus for domestic consumption, but wants oil bound for European markets to be subject to duty. Russia has warned Belarus that it will have to pay full duty on all oil delivered while no agreement is in place.
"At the end of last year, Belarus and Russia began talks on oil deliveries, which have shown no results," the Belarusian presidential press service said.
In December, Moscow and Minsk reached an agreement that Belarus would receive oil deliveries duty free during the first two to three months of 2010, during which time the two countries would continue negotiations on the conditions of future oil deliveries for 2010.
"However, Russia has practically declined the drafted contracts and has put forward unacceptable conditions for Belarus. This is the reason the president of Belarus sent a letter to the Russian president outlining Belarus's position on this issue," the Belarusian press service said.
The contents of the letter were not disclosed.
A source in the Russian president's administration said Medvedev offered to supply duty-free some 6.3 million metric tons of oil for domestic consumption. Belarus, however, requested Russia to supply up to 30 million metric tons of oil duty free, saying it would otherwise increase transit fees for Europe-bound oil from $3.90 to $45.
A Belarusian delegation left Moscow on Saturday without reaching a deal, reviving fears of supply cuts to the European Union. The former Soviet states blamed each other for the failure to reach a new agreement.
Last year, Russia supplied some 25 million metric tons of oil to Belarus, including 5-6 million tons for domestic needs. A senior Russian official said Belarus has asked Russia to supply up to 30 million metric tons of oil duty free this year.
A dispute between Moscow and Minsk in 2007 led to disruptions in supplies to Poland and Germany.
Russia has had frequent disputes with its former Soviet neighbors over energy prices in recent years, as it has moved to bring tariffs closer to free market levels. Western powers have accused Russia of using energy as a political tool in relations with Ukraine and Belarus, major transit nations for its Europe-bound natural gas and oil flows.
 

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Belarus's Lukashenko sends letter to Russia's Medvedev on oil deal | Top Russian news and analysis online | 'RIA Novosti' newswire

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on Wednesday addressed a letter to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Belarus's position in regard to oil deliveries.
Belarus benefited from significant discounts on Russian oil imports in 2009, and is again seeking preferential treatment this year. Russia says it is willing to eliminate all duties on oil supplied to Belarus for domestic consumption, but wants oil bound for European markets to be subject to duty. Russia has warned Belarus that it will have to pay full duty on all oil delivered while no agreement is in place.
"At the end of last year, Belarus and Russia began talks on oil deliveries, which have shown no results," the Belarusian presidential press service said.
In December, Moscow and Minsk reached an agreement that Belarus would receive oil deliveries duty free during the first two to three months of 2010, during which time the two countries would continue negotiations on the conditions of future oil deliveries for 2010.
"However, Russia has practically declined the drafted contracts and has put forward unacceptable conditions for Belarus. This is the reason the president of Belarus sent a letter to the Russian president outlining Belarus's position on this issue," the Belarusian press service said.
The contents of the letter were not disclosed.
A source in the Russian president's administration said Medvedev offered to supply duty-free some 6.3 million metric tons of oil for domestic consumption. Belarus, however, requested Russia to supply up to 30 million metric tons of oil duty free, saying it would otherwise increase transit fees for Europe-bound oil from $3.90 to $45.
A Belarusian delegation left Moscow on Saturday without reaching a deal, reviving fears of supply cuts to the European Union. The former Soviet states blamed each other for the failure to reach a new agreement.
Last year, Russia supplied some 25 million metric tons of oil to Belarus, including 5-6 million tons for domestic needs. A senior Russian official said Belarus has asked Russia to supply up to 30 million metric tons of oil duty free this year.
A dispute between Moscow and Minsk in 2007 led to disruptions in supplies to Poland and Germany.
Russia has had frequent disputes with its former Soviet neighbors over energy prices in recent years, as it has moved to bring tariffs closer to free market levels. Western powers have accused Russia of using energy as a political tool in relations with Ukraine and Belarus, major transit nations for its Europe-bound natural gas and oil flows.
 

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