Belarus eyes more crude imports via Lithuania port

VILNIUS Oct 8 (Reuters) - Belarus plans to sign a long-term agreement on crude oil imports via a Lithuania port terminal, the Lithuanian national broadcaster reported on Thursday night, citing a Belarus official.

Oil imports into Belarus from neighboring Russia dropped by 40 percent after its former Soviet mentor drastically cut supplies of duty-free oil this year.

The government in the capital Minsk plans Venezuela crude imports via Ukraine and Baltic ports instead.[nLDE68T1PD]

Minsk planned to import 2.5 million tonnes of crude via Lithuania's Klaipeda port and deliver the supplies by rail to Belarus refiners over two years, Belarus deputy prime minister Vladimir Semashko was quoted as saying.

He added an agreement was expected to be signed at end-October and the first deliveries via Lithuania were to start in December.

A 80,000 tonne vessel of Venezuela crude for Belarus was reloaded at majority state-owned Klaipedos Nafta (KNF1L.VL: Quote) terminal in September.

Officials from the terminal, which has been mostly reloading oil products for exports from Lithuania, Russian and Belarusian refiners, were not available for immediate comment.

Belarus said it plans to import 4 million tonnes of oil from Venezuela by mid-2011 and hopes to increase production at oil joint-ventures in the country.

The two Belarusian refineries are able to process over 20 million tonnes per year. (Reporting by Nerijus Adomaitis; Editing by Ed Lane)


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