Belarus raises transit fees on Russian crude by one third

Belarus raised transit fees for Russian crude crossing its territory by about a third today after reaching an agreement with Russia's oil pipeline monopoly OAO Transneft, Belta news agency reported.

Transneft agreed to the new fees proposed by Belarus Economy Ministry, the Belarusian state news agency said, citing Pavel Karpovich, the deputy head of Belarusian pipeline operator Gomeltransneft Druzhba. Transneft cut supplies to Belarus last month after Russia's western neighbor retaliated to a new Russian oil tax by demanding duties on transit shipments. The shutoff led to an interruption in deliveries to Western Europe and was resolved only after Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko appealed to his counterpart Vladimir Putin. The rise instituted today is the first since 1996, Belta said. It will now cost Transneft an average of 60 US cents, up from 41 US cents, to transport one ton of crude 100 kilometers (62 miles) across Belarus. Transneft spokesman Sergei Grigoryev wasn't immediately available to comment. (Bloomberg)