25 Aug 2009 14:37

Gas transit via Belarus to decline 14% in 2009

MOSCOW. Aug 25 (Interfax) - Belarus plans to transit a total of 44.2 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas through its territory in 2009, down 14% from 51.4 bcm in 2008, the government's press service said citing a new decree.

"The reason for the drop in annual gas transit volumes in 2009 is a decline in demand for Russian natural gas in Europe, which has resulted in lower transit volumes than stipulated in an addendum to a contract signed by Beltransgaz and Gazprom on January 30, 2009," the press service said.

"It is planned that revenue and budget payments are subject to adjustments on a yearly basis after the tariff rates are clarified for the transit of natural gas via Belarusian territory in accordance with a contract Beltransgaz and Gazprom signed on December 31, 2006 for the period 2007-2011," the government said.

Belarus was initially expecting to transit 47.3 bcm of gas in 2009, earning $401.9 million in revenue and $80.4 million in budget payments.

Russia currently ships its natural gas through Belarus via Gazprom's Yamal-Europe gas pipeline, which has capacity to transport 33 bcm per year, and via Beltransgaz's pipeline system, which has capacity of 51 bcm per year.