Belarus plans to import 10 million tonnes of oil from Venezuela in 2011, as stipulated in the contract between oil company BNK and Venezuelan PDVSA, a BNK spokesman told Interfax.
Of the 10 million tonnes purchased in Venezuela, up to 8 million tonnes will be delivered on the oil pipeline systems in Ukraine and Belarus and the rest via ports in the Baltic States.
Agreements on organization of swap deals on the Venezuelan crude were recently signed in London, he said. He declined to give details of the countries and trading companies concerned, or the volumes covered in the contracts.
The swap involves Urals blend crude from Russia, a source in a profile ministry told Interfax. The deal is analogous to the one used to organize test shipment of oil via the port of Yuzhny near Odesa and north along the Odesa-Brody pipeline and Druzhba to the Mozyr Oil Refinery in Belarus. The source said the swap deals would only be conducted in the first half of 2011, which would leave Belarus free to negotiate a swap deal with a country in the Caspian region.
The BNK spokesman refused to confirm or deny the information, but said "it would be premature to name the participant in the swap deal at the moment. That should be done by top state officials."
A Belneftekhim spokesman told Interfax that the 2011 crude oil supply balance "is currently being fine tuned." However, he said 10 million tonnes would be received from Venezuela and domestic production of about 1.7 million tonnes would be exported.
"The main goal is to ensure 100% capacity utilization at Belarusian oil refineries. The volume of Russian crude that needs to be purchased is being determined based on the existing contracts. But clearly it won't be the 21 million tonnes that was contained in the draft fuel balance for the Union State," he said.
Officials in the sector pointed out that the nation's refineries have the technical ability to refine any crude oil blend and are ready to operate at full capacity.