Belarus to get $50 mln by raising tariffs on Russian oil transit

MINSK, February 8 (Itar-Tass) - Belarus will get 50 million US dollars additionally every year by raising tariffs on transit of Russian oil across its territory. This figure was quoted by director of the Gomeltransneft Druzhba enterprise Alexei Kostyuchenko, speaking at a news conference on Wednesday.

Tariffs on oil transit will be raised on February 15 by 31-35 percent on a decision of the Belarussian Economics Ministry. Commenting on this decision, Kostyuchenko said that Belarus had not changed tariffs on oil transportation from 1996. They were "the lowest over the entire post-Soviet space". According to the director, tariffs remained intact as a result of allied relations. Now, Kostyuchenko continued, the level of tariffs, suggested by the Belarussian side, is in line with the domestic Russian level.

According to the director's information, his enterprise annually pumps around 80 billion tonnes of oil, or approximately 30-33 percent of all exported Russian oil.

Kostyuchenko also said that the Russian side was informed of the tariffs rise in good time.

However, Minister of Industry and Energy Viktor Khristenko said on Tuesday that his ministry has no official document from Belarussian authorities so far about a change of tariffs on Russian oil transit.

Minister for Economic Development and Trade German Gref also said on Tuesday in an interview with reporters that such measures can be taken "only on the basis of a bilateral agreement". "We should receive a notification in good time and hold talks," Gref continued. According to the economic development minister, Russia does not plan retaliatory measures on the rise of tariffs on oil transit by the Belarussian side.