Gas Price Rise to Be a Disaster for Russia, Lukashenko

12.11.2010 15:21
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President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko believes that "Russia's changing the traditional export routes of oil and natural gas will cost it more." "There's a huge amount of natural gas in the world. It seems to me that "Gazprom" position for natural gas price increase is a catastrophe for "Gazprom" and Russia themselves, because in that way they're losing their own markets," the head of state said in the interview with German largest media.

«This year’s been most difficult for Belarus after introduction of oil customs duties by Russia. But we’ve come out of this situation normally. Today, all refineries are loaded at 100%,» Alexander Lukashenko said.

However, the Belarusian leader believes that the current position of the Russian side in this matter is «totally counterproductive in terms of Russian economy.» According to the president, the natural gas high prices of «Gazprom» in Europe have made Europe look for new suppliers and actively build terminals for liquefaction of natural gas, bought from Qatar and Norway, BelTA informs.

Alexander Lukashenko stressed that Belarus would continue to buy natural gas from Russia, but also to build terminals for liquefaction of natural gas to diversify the supplies. «Our country has already engaged in the negotiations with Poland,» the president said.

«As for the oil, it is generally not a problem — we will be importing crude oil by trains, which is underway today. If oil gets cheaper, and it’s beneficial to us, we’ll make gas for oil, petroleum products, that is we’ll be able to burn fuel oil in power stations, rather than natural gas, and we’ll get electricity, as we use natural gas mainly to generate electricity,» Alexander Lukashenko said.

Belarus to Buy Only Half of Required Russian Oil, Lukashenko

The Belarusian leader says that Belarus intends to buy less than half of the required Russian oil in 2011, while the rest of the amount will be obtained from other suppliers. According to Alexander Lukashenko, Belarus has signed a contract with Venezuela, under which Belarus is entitled to almost 30 million oil tons within three years, RIA Novosti.

«I emphasize again that Russia has to think over its trading-at-a-loss situation. We consume such a huge amount of natural gas, about 25 billion cubic meters a year in the next five years, which is a good market for Russia. I don’t think that Russia will abandon these oil and gas pipelines, for it would be a foolish mistake,» the Belarusian leader said.

«You know perfectly well that the construction of the BPS-2 and Nord Stream takes a lot of money. And where should they get this money, how could the money be recovered, «discouraged», as businessmen say?» They should be counted within the gas and oil price, available in Germany. But the competition is already fierce there, there’s nowhere to raise prices, they are up the ceiling there,» said Alexander Lukashenko.

According to the president of Belarus, financial and economic experts have opportunely been warning the Russian leadership about the obvious failure of this loss-making project; so it wasn’t necessary to build it on the sea.

«Belarus has always been open to negotiate with, so has Poland. The entire infrastructure for the parallel Yamal-Europe pipeline construction has been created. There’s the  whole infrastructure, what was the need to get into the sea? All the more it takes billions. And these billions are to be counted in gas prices, available in Germany. But there’s only $157 per thousand cubic meters of gas there, not $250. Therefore, it is an unprofitable project,» the head of state said.

«I think that someday the Russian leadership and especially gas and oil sellers, will think about advantage of these gas and oil pipelines’ usage, which is much cheaper than to use those ones,» Alexander Lukashenko said.