Belarus has offered Russia a controlling stake in the Belarusian state gas transportation concern Beltransgaz in exchange for concessions for natural gas production in Russia, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko announced at a press conference today. "Let us extract 10bn cubic meters (of natural gas) in your country and we will give you a half of Beltransgaz," Lukashenko was quoted as saying. However, he did not specify what gas fields they were interested in. He stressed they were not going to retreat from the earlier mentioned price of $5bn for Beltransgaz.
Belarus is dependent on Russia's gas supplies, and the latter has announced it was going to increase gas prices from $29 to $50 or up to $80 per 1,000 cubic meters. Belarus needs 18.5bn cubic meters of natural gas a year. Currently, Belarus is holding negotiations with the Russian gas monopolist Gazprom about gas supplies.