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4 Feb 2020

Lithuania offers infrastructure for regular oil, gas deliveries to Belarus

Lithuania offers infrastructure for regular oil, gas deliveries to Belarus
Linas Linkevicius

MINSK, 4 February (BelTA) – Lithuania invites Belarus to intensively use its infrastructure to enable regular deliveries of oil and natural gas. Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevicius made the statement after meeting with his Belarusian counterpart Vladimir Makei, BelTA has learned.

Linas Linkevicius said: “We are ready to continue the practice of alternative oil deliveries that have already been done. We can discuss a more permanent process as well. We’ve talked about it during the meeting with the prime minister of Belarus. We should consider technical solutions, possibilities of natural gas deliveries. A great deal of work needs to be done.”

Talking to reporters, Belarusian Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei said that the possibility of importing natural gas via Lithuania had not been discussed in detail yet. “We’ve discussed these matters but experts should be the ones to discuss specific things,” he said.

A Belarusian-Lithuanian economic forum is expected to take place in Klaipeda in May. The prime ministers of the two countries will be able to meet and discuss the entire range of matters then.

As for Belarus-Lithuania economic cooperation, it grows steadily. According to Linas Linkevicius, Lithuania is home to over 600 companies with Belarusian capital. The volume of investments coming from Belarus grows as well.

The negotiations also touched upon the situation regarding a disrupted alliance deal between the Lithuanian company KRS and the Belarusian company Beltruboprovodstroy. The Belarusian side believes the Lithuanian government interfered with the commercial deal under the pretense of “incompliance with interests of national security”. As a result, the Belarusian company, which fully met all the requirements and offered the most beneficial terms, was virtually excluded from the project.

Linas Linkevicius noted: “Certainly, we hope that such misunderstandings will not happen in the future.”

Vladimir Makei stressed: “We’ve agreed that it would be desirable to advance and deepen trade and economic cooperation without political bias. We have an understanding that we need to focus on advancing trade and economic cooperation without mixing in political things.”

BelTA reported earlier that Belarus is on the lookout for alternative sources to import oil from after Russia suspended oil deliveries on 1 January 2020 because the two countries had failed to reach an agreement on the price for oil. Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko instructed the government to diversify oil deliveries and try and import 30-40% of what the country needs from Russia. The head of state said: “We have to take steps and get 30-40% of oil from the Russian Federation. We should import about 30% from the Baltic states and about 30% via Ukraine – it’s been tried and tested. Kazakhstan may supply oil to us if Russia agrees to it. It is odd that our ally refuses to allow another ally of ours to supply oil to us. Well, this is the oil supply situation we have to deal with at present.”

The Belarusian oil refinery OAO Naftan in Novopolotsk received the first batch of Norwegian oil on 26 January. That oil was delivered to Belarus from the Klaipeda port by rail.

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