Russia finishes gas talks with Belarus – Putin

Talks between Belarus and Russia’s gas giant Gazprom on reducing the gas price for the ex-soviet state are coming to a close, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday.

Putin said this summer that Russia would introduce “an integrative decrease adjustment into the gas pricing formula” for Belarus from 2012, but added that it should be accompanied by Gazprom’s acquisition of the Belarusian government’s 50% stake in Beltransgaz.

“Several minutes ago, Gazprom officials told me that the talks on Beltransgaz are near to finishing. We are approaching the new agreements with Belarus in our energy partnership,” Putin said, adding that the gas price for Belarus will change from 2012.

The gas pricing formula is a major concern for Belarus, which currently buys Russian gas for $286 per 1,000 cubic meters.

Putin did not specify the amount of the new gas price, saying the final characteristics of the deal would be decided “in the nearest future” during the meeting between both countries’ leaders.

Last week, Gazprom, which currently owns 50 percent of Beltransgaz on par with the Belarus government, said that it may sign new gas contracts with Belarus in November.

The current gas contract between Russia and Belarus expires on December 31. 


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