23 Dec 2010 16:05

Belarus may pay less for Russian gas in 2011 - ambassador

MINSK. Dec 23 (Interfax) - Russian Ambassador to Belarus Alexander Surikov has acknowledged the possibility of a gas price reduction for Belarus in 2011.

"Belarusian and our energy officials are discussing a possible reduction of the gas price in 2011 in the case that crude prices are too high," he told a Thursday press conference in Minsk.

"I cannot say which [crude prices] can cause that," he said.

"Unluckily for the [Belarusian] economy, crude prices are speculatively growing, and this entails a increase in gas prices," the ambassador said.

"The main task is to draft a [gas] contract for 2012-2015," he said.

Russia is prepared to fully meet the Belarusian crude demand. "That is simple. We will give as much spare crude as we have," he said.

Russia will agree to the Belarusian re-export of Russian crude if the duties are transferred to the Russian budget. "If Belarus wishes to sell crude, it must transfer 100% of the customs duty [to Russia]," he noted.

"It is a choice of Belarus which suppliers and how much crude to have," the ambassador added.