12 Nov 2009 21:42

Switch to equally profitable gas prices must be synchronized with Russia - Belarus PM

MINSK. Nov 12 (Interfax) - Belarusian Prime Minister Sergei Sidorsky links the necessity to synchronize a switch to equally profitable prices for gas with Russia with the terms of Beltransgaz privatization.

"While conceiving a joint venture on the basis of Beltransgaz and a sale of a 50% stake to Gazprom at the highest level the sides were guided by the agreement on a simultaneous changeover to equally profitable prices for gas," Sidorsky said at a news conference in Minsk on Thursday on the sidelines of the Belarusian investment forum. Russia and Belarus's previous agreements envisioned a switch to equally profitable prices from January 1, 2011. Sidorsky said, meanwhile, that Russia wants to put off the switch until 2014-16. Taking the basic agreement on the terms of Beltransgaz privatization, "Belarus has the legitimate right to conduct talks on this issue, which its experts are doing right now," he said.

"On the other hand," he said, "European markets have been witnessing a serious drop in prices for gas."