Belarus Denied Friendship of Russia

The transport monopoly of Russia, Transneft, will curtail crude shipment to Belarus by 30 percent in the fourth quarter. Transneft attributes the reduction to pressure relief in Druzhba (Friendship) pipelines. But the analysts speak about an attempt to pressurize Belarus' President Alexander Lukashenko in the gas dialogue.

Russia's Technological Oversight Service, Rostekhnadzor, ordered Transneft to lower pressure in Druzhba trunk pipelines running towards Belarus. The reason is continued inspection of defects revealed after the breakdown, Transneft Vice President Sergey Grigoriev said yesterday.

Transneft intends to meet representatives of the state-run Belneftekhim [controls Mozyrsk and Novopolotsk refineries] to go through the shipment of crude. "We will talk to them, show what is happening, and we will see then," Grigoriev explained.

Rostekhnadzor proved unable to shed light on the situation Wednesday. Belneftekhim refused to comment as well. Representatives of Novopolotsk refinery said they knew nothing about the drop in deliveries and count on receiving the crude in the previously agreed amount, i.e. 610,000 tons a month. Mozyrsk refinery doesn't expect the reduction either.

But there are problems, sources familiar with the situation in Belarus' refineries said off-the-record. In October, Novopolotsk refinery will get no more than 520,000 tons of crude instead of the scheduled 610,000 tons, while Mozyrsk will have to confine to 440,000 tons instead of 725,000 tons.