21 Jan 2020 14:33

Belarus aims to lower oil import from Russia to 40% of country's needs - Lukashenko

MINSK Jan 21 (Interfax) - Belarus plans to lower oil import from Russia to 40% of country's needs, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said.

"We do not currently have a full alternative to Russian oil supplies. But as we agreed, we have to diversify. We need to get to the stage where we are buying 30%-40% of our oil from Russia. We should be importing around 30% from the Baltic States and 30% via Ukraine, this has been tried and tested," he said during a meeting on petroleum product exports, according to the state news agency BelTA.

Russian oil companies supplied 17.6 million tonnes of oil to Belarus in 2019, so in other words Lukashenko set the task of reducing oil supplies from Russia to 7 million tonnes per year.

Lukashenko also said Belarusian budget revenue was declining due told Interfax the tax maneuver in the Russian oil industry. "The economic conditions we are forced to work in are getting more complicated. Due to the introduction of the tax maneuver in the Russian Federation, revenues of Belarus' central state budget are unavoidably going down and the performance of our oil refineries is getting worse. The oil refineries are having problems with financing their ongoing operation and - which is also important - their investment programs designed to step up production," BelTA quoted him as saying.