Belarus to raise oil transit tariffs

MOSCOW, Feb. 5 (Xinhua) -- Belarus will raise tariffs for transit of crude oil through its pipeline network starting on Feb.15, the Itar-Tass news agency reported on Monday.

The Economy Ministry set the new oil transit tariffs at 1.3 to 3.5 U.S. dollars per ton of oil traveling 100 kilometers. The current fees, which stand at 0.4 to 0.6 dollars, have not been changed since December 1995.

Russian pipeline operator Transneft's vice president Sergei Grigoryev said that the company had not yet been formally notified of the price hike and the increase in transit tariff would not raise the price of Russian oil exported to Europe.

"I think that the oil price will not change for the Europeans. Maybe Russian oilmen will incur additional expenditures," he told Itar-Tass.

Part of Russian oil exports to the European Union (EU) is piped through Belarus. A total of 78.7 million tons of Russian crude was transited through Belarus last year, according to Itar-Tass.

A pricing dispute between the two countries resulted in a brief suspension of oil flow to Belarus and Europe at the start of the year.

The crisis ended on Jan. 12 with a deal in which Russia agreed to cut the duty on oil exports to Belarus, while Minsk promised to share with Moscow a substantial amount of the profits from the refined oil products it sells to Europe.