22 January 2018, Monday, 5:00

Russia bills Belarus for $2.5bn


The Ministry of Energy of Russia estimates the losses caused by solvents smuggling by Belarus at $1.5-2.5 billion.

“According to different estimates, potential losses of Russia's budget (from the solvent scheme) were from $1.5 to $2.5 billion,” Russian minister for energy Alexander Novak said in an interview with Vedomosti newspaper (Russia).

He noted that Russia and Belarus were holding active talks on supplies in 2013 after a conflict between the countries over selling Belarusian oil products from Russian duty-free oil to third countries under the guise of solvents, Interfax news agency reports.

“The Belarusian side wants about 23 million tonnes of oil for the next year. This year's balance was 21.5 million tonnes. It means they have increased the offer for oil processing at their refineries. It's clear that they don't need this amount of oil for domestic consumption. They should return oil products to Russia in accordance with the year balance. We are discussing the volumes now. We'll announce the figure by the end of November,” the minister said.

“We will propose that both our companies, which own oil products, and Belarusian companies, according to the proportion of their ownership, should return and sell the produced petroleum products, first of all petrol, in the Russian market,” he added.

It should be reminded that Belarus turned out this summer to be exporting oil products from Russian oil under the guise of solvents that allowed the country to avoid paying export duties to Russia for selling fuel outside the Customs Union.

Moscow already offered Minsk to compensate for the losses from the “solvent business”, but the claim cost was estimated at $1.5bn. A possible transfer of Belarus's large enterprises as compensation to Russia was discussed.

Illustration by newsland.ru