13 Oct 2009 14:59

Belarus wants to extend agreement on terms of Russian oil deliveries

MINSK. Oct 13 (Interfax) - Minsk and Moscow will hold high-level talks on the terms of deliveries of Russian crude oil to Belarus next week, Belarusian Deputy Economics Minister Anatoly Filonov told Interfax.

"The meeting of the working group [at the level of deputy ministers] will be held at the beginning of next week. The Belarusian delegation will depart for Moscow on October 19," he said.

The Belarusian delegation will include the deputy heads of the Economics and Finance ministries and of the Belneftekhim refining concern.

Its main goal is to maximally extend the agreement on the terms of the oil deliveries, which is scheduled to expire this year.

The Russian side has not officially settled on a position. Unofficially it is expected to approve an extension of the agreement until July 1, 2010.

"There will be no aggravation of relations with Russia as far as the terms of oil deliveries are concerned," Filonov said.

Deputy Finance Minister Ivan Shunko said preliminary talks at the expert level are underway in Moscow on the terms of the agreement. "Our position is to extend the agreement," Shunko said.

However, he did not rule out the possibility the agreement would be revised.

Russia is committed to deliver 21.5 million tonnes of oil to Belarus this year, of which about 50% is provided to Belarusian refiners by Russian oil companies on a give-and-take basis.