25 Jan 2024 10:54

Belarus hikes oil transit rates 38% for Kazakhstan, 10.2% for Russia

MINSK. Jan 25 (Interfax) - Belarus's Antimonopoly Regulation and Trade Ministry has increased raises for transit shipments of oil through the country.

"Rates for transit transportation of oil through the country's territory and for domestic consumption have been indexed by 10.2%," the ministry said in a press release, citing its resolution No. 2, which goes into effect on February 1.

"Moreover, in regard to transit routes, rates have been indexed and set based on the principle of parity of their specific values," the ministry said.

The rate for transporting oil along the Unecha (Vysokoye) - Adamova Zastava pipeline from the border with Russia to the border with Poland in the direction of Germany will increase by 38% to 629.26 Russian rubles per net tonne (before VAT) from the rate of 455.94 rubles that has been in effect since February 1, 2023, according to the document posted on the national legal website on Thursday.

The rate for transporting oil along the Unecha (Vysokoye)-Brody pipeline section from the border with Russia in the direction of Ukraine, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic will go up 10.2% to 215.78 Russian rubles per tonne.

Rates for transporting crude along trunk pipelines for Belarusian oil refineries - Naftan and Mozyr - will increase by 10.2% (set in Belarusian rubles).

In December, Belarus tabled a new proposal for indexing rates for transporting oil across its territory to Europe. The country proposed to hike the rate for the northern branch of the Druzhba pipeline, which now only carries Kazakh oil, by 43%, while raising the rate for the southern branch, which still carries Russian oil, by 14.5%, national daily Kommersant reported at the time.

The operator of the Belarusian oil transport system, Gomeltransneft Druzhba sent Russian oil pipeline monopoly Transneft a letter on November 17 proposing to raise the oil transit rate as of February 1, 2024, the paper said.

The company proposed to hike the rate for the northern Unecha-Adamovo route that runs through Belarus to Germany by 43.4% to 653.80 rubles per tonne, and the rate for the southern Unecha-Brody branch that runs through Belarus and Ukraine to Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, by 14.5% to 195.80 rubles per tonne. This is necessary to eliminate cross financing of expenditures on transportation along the northern branch at the expense of pumping through the southern branch, Gomeltransneft Druzhba said. The per-unit rate for the system would thus be 104.30 rubles per 100 km, the paper said.

The letter said that "unforeseen circumstances" led to an almost 80% drop in transit traffic compared to 2022, including a 94% drop on the route to Adamovo, Kommersant reported. This refers to Poland and Germany refusing to accept Russian oil due to the imposition of sanctions. The northern branch of Druzhba to Europe now carries only crude from Kazakhstan, shipments of which were expected to total 1.2 million tonnes in 2023, the paper said.

Gomeltransneft Druzhba earlier notified Transneft that it wanted to raise the transit rate by 84% in light of the drop in transit traffic through Belarus. A spokesman for the Belarusian company said the per-unit rate for transporting oil in the direction of Poland and Germany would increase from $0.91 to $1.67 per 100 tonne-kilometers and the rate in the direction of Ukraine would go up from $1.14 to $2.09. The company argued that the proposed rates were lower than rates charged by operators in Ukraine and Kazakhstan. Nonetheless, Russia opposed this proposal.

It was reported earlier that Gomeltransneft Druzhba expected oil traffic to drop by half in 2023. Traffic through the Belarusian system of trunk oil pipelines slumped 7.3% to 49.6 million tonnes in 2022 after dropping from 53.5 million tonnes in 2021, 61.5 million tonnes in 2022 and 63 million tonnes in 2019.