New grey schemes of Belarusian exports appeared.
Bitumen mastic became the absolute leader in the exports growth in Belarus. The sales rose 2500-fold in the first five months of 2014 in comparison to the same period last year, charter97.org learnt from the National Statistics Committee.
Exports to the EU in the category “bituminous mixtures on the base of natural asphalt, petroleum bitumen, mineral tar or mineral tar pitch (e.g. bitumen mastic, asphalt mixtures for roads)” increased from $64,000 to $178,000,000, which strongly resembles the situation of the exports of solvents in the first half of 2012.
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The UK is the biggest foreign buyer of Belarusian bitumen. The UK bought 373,000 tonnes (almost $176,000) out of 377,000 tonnes exported to the EU in January-May. Belarus did not export bitumen to the UK last year. Supplies to Lithuania and Poland grew from 39 and 18 to 2,549 and 1,100 tonnes respectively in comparison to the period of January-May in 2013.
Belarus's biggest bitumen manufacturer, Neftebitumen Plant (former Vioska-EmulBit bitumen plant) has been owned by Interservice company for almost a year. According to Belarusian media, businessman from Navapolatsk Nikolai Vorobei (Mikalai Varabei) and Lukashenka's friend oligarch Aliaksandr Shakutsin stand behind the oil trader that was earlier involved in solvent schemes. The close ties between Interservice and Shakutsin can be seen from the fact that the oil trader has been the owner of Amkodor's controlling stake since the end of 2012. Shakutsin is the chairman of the board of directors of Amkodor group of companies.