Russia's Gazprom acknowledges $32 mln debt to Minsk - Belarus deputy PM

The FINANCIAL -- Russian state-run gas monopoly Gazprom has acknowledged its $32 million gas transit debt to Minsk, Belarusian Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Semashko said on June 30, according to RIA Novosti.

"We'll probably sign a gas transit agreement with Gazprom tomorrow. We agreed on that issue yesterday," he said, adding that the parties had also agreed on a $1.88 gas transit fee per 1,000 cubic meters per 100 kilometers.

Gazprom has already paid Belarus $228 million to cover its November-December gas transit debt and the debt for the first five months of 2010 based on a $1.45 gas transit fee, while Belarus insisted on a $1.88 fee, which would increase Gazprom's debt to $260 million.

Earlier this month, Belarus and Gazprom were involved in a dispute over Belarus' non-payment for Russian gas with Gazprom slashing deliveries and Minsk threatening to suspend European transit supplies. The size of the fees that Gazprom pays for transit to Beltransgaz became the last stumbling block in the conflict.

Beltransgaz Chief Executive Officer Vladimir Mayorov said on Monday the two gas companies had already finalized a supplementary agreement to a gas transit contract and might sign it on Wednesday or Thursday.

"Gazprom has sent its version of the supplementary agreement to the gas transit contract to Beltransgaz. We accepted it and sent it back to them on June 27," Belarusian state-run agency Belta quoted Mayorov as saying on Monday.


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