Belarus wants to discuss lower gas price with Russia

Belarus plans to raise the issue of a descending coefficient for the price of Russian natural gas at the next Union State session between the two ex-Soviet republics, Belarusian Deputy Economics Minister Anatoly Filonov said on Tuesday.

“I believe this issue will be discussed,” he said, adding that Belarus would insist on the revision of the gas supply contract with Russia.

Belarus insists on a synchronized transition with Russia to the same prices for gas deliveries to the domestic and foreign markets, Filonov said.

“For example, if Russia plans to achieve equal profits for Gazprom from gas supplies for exports and to the domestic market by 2014, we should also approach this price level by about that time,” he said. “This will help create a competitive environment for our producers. Currently, we are in a disadvantageous position as energy prices for us are much higher.”

Belarus has long insisted that gas prices for Belarus as a member of the Union State should equal gas prices on the Russian domestic market.

Gazprom’s four-year contract with Belarus expires this year. The parties are negotiating a new contract for 2012-2014, with Belarus insisting on lower gas prices and linking the new contract terms with the sale of a 50 percent share package of national gas pipeline operator Beltransgaz to Gazprom.

Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller has said, however, that a new gas contract and the sale of Beltransgaz are two completely different documents and are not connected.

Gazprom already owns half of Beltransgaz.

Russia’s natural gas price for Belarus rose to $244.7 per 1,000 cubic meters in the second quarter of this year from $223 per 1,000 cu m in the first quarter.

Russian gas prices for Belarus are still below the average European level.

MINSK, June 7 (RIA Novosti) 

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