Gazprom to sign new gas contract with Belarus in Dec

Russian gas giant Gazprom will finish negotiations with Belarus on a new gas deal for 2012-2014 in early December, Gazprom said.

Gazprom’s four-year contract with Belarus, under which the ex-Soviet republic pays for natural gas at a considerable discount to European gas prices, expires on December 31. A new agreement is expected to be based on a market price formula.

“It is planned to finish the talks and sign a new contract on gas transit and supplies in early December, 2011,” Gazprom said in the statement.

The gas pricing formula is a major concern for Belarus, which currently buys Russian gas for $245 per 1,000 cubic meters. The Belarusian government pins hope on a reduction in gas prices.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has repeatedly mentioned that the gas discount size will be tied with Gazprom’s purchase of Belarus Beltransgaz, one of Gazprom’s main acquisition targets. Russia has already bought 50 percent of the Belarusian state-run company for $2.5 billion.

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