Gazprom may cut 85% of gas deliveries to Belarus from June 21 due to outstanding debts, the Russian energy giant's CEO Alexei Miller said Thursday.
"Considering the price of gas supplied in June and the amount of debt of $192 million, gas deliveries to Belarus could be cut by 85% of the planned volume. The remaining 15% will allow Belarus to maintain its gas transport system until it compensates in full its outstanding debt," Miller said at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.
Belarus is a transit country for part of Russian gas exports to Europe. On Tuesday, President Dmitry Medvedev threatened tough measures against Minsk if it does not pay off its approximate $200 million gas debt in five days.
Gazprom also warned Belarus on Wednesday that it may cut gas supplies starting June 21.
Belarus refuses to pay the Russian gas price, which is set at $169 per 1,000 cubic meters in the first quarter of the year and $185 in the second quarter. Instead, it has been paying $150 since January 1. A Russian official earlier said Minsk had "plucked this price out of thin air."
Miller said Gazprom "hopes very much" that Belarus' gas transportation company Beltransgaz will pay off the debt before June 21.
"Yet another letter with demands to strictly follow the contract and pay arrears was sent yesterday," he said, adding that should Beltransgaz fail to fall in line with its commitments, Gazprom will have to cut supplies.
ST. PETERSBURG, June 17 (RIA Novosti)