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23 Nov 2017

Belarus ratifies protocol on Russian gas prices

MINSK, 23 November (BelTA) – Belarusian MPs ratified a protocol on amendments to the Belarus-Russia intergovernmental agreement of 25 November 2011 on pricing of natural gas delivered to Belarus and its transportation via pipelines located in Belarus, BelTA has learned.

The protocol regulates the matters related to Russia’s gas supplies to Belarus in 2017-2019 and maps out the measures to improve cooperation in the gas industry in 2020-2024 (the transition period before the establishment of a common gas market in the Eurasian Economic Union). The protocol cancels the provision on market (equal-netback) prices for the natural gas that Belarus imports from Russia.

According to the document, proposals shall be brought forward by 1 January 2018 on a program to form a common gas market in the EAEU. These proposals shall be used to make amendments to the agreement, which will define the gas pricing for Belarus, by 1 July 2019, bearing in mind the need to enable the conditions for establishing the EAEU common gas market by 1 January 2025. If the EAEU member states fail to form the common gas market by that moment, the sides will decide on the gas pricing for Belarus in line with the proposals on the common gas market program.

According to the Belarusian Energy Ministry, the gas price for Belarus from 1 July to 31 December 2017 stands at $143.54 per 1,000 cubic meters. In 2018, it will go down to $129 per 1,000 cubic meters, in 2019 to $127 per 1,000 cubic meters.

First Deputy Energy Minister Viktor Karankevich spoke about the expected economic benefit for Belarus from the falling prices for gas supplied by Gazprom. In 2018-2019, if all the conditions are observed, it will reach some $700 million. Viktor Karankevich clarified that this money should be allocated to support Belarus’ real economy by reducing gas and electricity tariffs. “If prices go down in the real economy, this will boost the competitive advantages of manufacturers. In turn, they will be able to make more products and more money. Consequently, this will bring more taxes to the government budget, which can be used to finance the social sector,” Viktor Karankevich emphasized.

 

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