Russia's Oilmen Back to Belarus

After the summer break, the oil companies of Russia sealed protocols for give-and-take processing at Belarus' Mozyrsk and Novopolotsk refineries in September. But the refining volume may drop already next month, after the duties on crude oil exports surge to $73.25 a ton from October 1 vs. today's $65.6 a ton.

Slavneft, LUKOIL, Slavneftekhim (Russneft operator), Unisoil (Transneft operator) and Univest-M (Rosneft operator, according to informal data) sealed protocols to process crude oil at Belarus' refineries under the give-and-take terms in September, Interfax-Zapad reported yesterday with reference to a source with Belneftekhim.

Representatives of Slavneft confirmed they intend to refine 200,000 tons of crude in Belarus in September, but others refused to give any details. The aggregate volume of processing applications for this month stands at roughly 650,000 tons.

Russia's oil companies fled from Belarus in summer following the June increase in oil customs duties. Of all firms operating under the give-and-take terms, only Univest-M remained in Belarus in August after the duty on exports of crude to the country grew from $45.8 a ton to $65.6 a ton. The thing is that the export duties on crude oil and oil product imposed by Belarus match the Russia's ones, forcing the firms of Russia to pay twice for the exports.

In an effort to lure the Russians again, the authorities of Belarus are ready even to increase the budget subsidies, reasoning this move will enable oil companies to generate profits. In September, however, Russia's oilmen returned to the republic without any compensation and despite the high duties. But the duties will further go up in October, and even the analysts find it too difficult to forecast their level that will preserve efficiency of refining in Belarus.