Belarus pledges stable transit of Russian gas to Europe: report

Belarus expects to transit 44-45 billion cubic meters of Russian gas next year to European markets, and has pledged to continue stable supplies of gas in the coming winter.

Vladimir Mayorov, the director general of Belarus gas pipeline operator Beltransgaz, told the state-owned Belta new agency that volumes via Belarus would not be reduced.

"We believe that there are certain economic guarantees and the motivation of our Russian colleagues to transport as much gas as possible via Belarus," he said.

Supplies of Russian gas to Europe via Belarus have been disrupted several times in recent years because of pricing disputes between Moscow and Minsk.

Russia cut supplies to Belarus in June this year because of debts owed by Minsk for previously delivered gas, which had a small knock-on effect on Poland and Lithuania.

Mayorov said the fact that Russia's Gazprom owns 50% of Beltransgaz means new agreements in the future should be easier to conclude.

He said the two sides were due to sign an additional agreement to the basic contract for the supply of gas in 2011.

"Before we sign the additional agreement, I cannot say anything about the gas price," Mayorov told Belta.

Gazprom supplies some 21 Bcm to Belarus, and the price is formulated according to a contract signed at the end of 2006.

According to that contract, the price of gas to Belarus has been rising gradually and next year is due to reach the European level.

The exact contract for each year is agreed with certain amendments, Mayorov said.

He also said that, once Gazprom's 55 Bcm/year Nord Stream gas pipeline from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea is operational, it would lead to a drop in the volumes of Russian gas transited to Europe via Belarus.


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