15 Jun 2009 14:10

Gazprom could file suit against Beltransgaz over Q1 gas payments

MINSK. June 15 (Interfax) - Russia could file a lawsuit against Belarusian gas transporter Beltransgaz for failing to make payments in full for gas delivered in the first quarter of 2009, Andrei Kuznetsov, an advisor on economic issues at the Russian Embassy in Minsk, told Interfax.

"Theoretically, a situation could arise where Gazprom could take legal recourse against Beltransgaz due to gas payments not being made in full for the first quarter. Such a threat exists in theory. This issue hasn't been removed from the agenda," he said.

Kuznetsov said a lawsuit could be filed against Beltransgaz if the Russian financial oversight authorities take action against Gazprom over the amount of revenue paid for gas supplies to Belarus in the first quarter. Under an oral agreement reached by the leaders of the two countries, Belarus paid an average price of about $150 per 1,000 cubic meters of gas in the first quarter of 2009, while the contracted price for this period was $210 per 1,000 cubic meters, he said.

At the same time, he said "these agreements were never drawn up legally in any way."