Source Pravda.Ru

Gazprom plans on doubling cost of gas for Belarussian consumers

Gazprom is proposing to begin charging Belarussian customers at the base price for its gas consumers in neighbouring countries of USD 80 for one thousand cubic meters, said Gazprom President Alexey Miller in a meeting with Beltransgaz General Director Pyotr Petukh yesterday. At the current time according to Rosbalt, Belarussian consumers pay approximately USD 30 for one thousand cubic meters. Gazprom has agreed to supply 10.2 billion cubic meters of gas to Belarus in 2003. In connection with the growth in the consumption of gas in the country, the Belarussian leadership has requested Gazprom to increase that amount to 18.5 billion cubic meters in 2004. The Gazprom press service said that the company plans that part of the delivery of gas to Belarus will be calculated based on a transportation tariff and part of the supply will be calculated using the market rate. Belarus currently owes Gazprom approximately USD 120 million for gas consumed over the past few years. Miller and Petukh also discussed restructuring the debt at their meeting.

In April 2002 the governments of Russia and Belarus signed an international agreement on the creation of equal conditions in the area of pricing policy and about widening cooperation in the gas industry. According to this agreement, Russia was obligated to supply natural gas to Belarus at wholesale prices. Belarus, on the other hand, in correspondence with the agreement was to provide conditions for the joint development of a gas transportation company on the base of Beltransgaz. Gazprom says they fulfilled their side of the agreement for gas supply at Russian domestic rates. However, they say the Belarussian side has not yet met with Gazprom on the question of creating a joint enterprise.

According to adjusted domestic whole gas prices, Gazprom is currently charging Belarus USD 29.80 for one thousand cubic meters of gas. On September 17, 2003 oil and gas complex Itera announced that it concluded a contract with Belarus for the supply of gas of approximately 7.5 cubic meters of natural gas in 2004 at a price of USD 46.68 for one thousand cubic meters.

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