Between Russia and Belarus erupted another gas conflict. The head of “Gazprom” Alexei Miller said that Minsk had accumulated debt for gas is $165 million, while the Belarusian side it will not repay, any negotiations to reduce the price of Russian gas to its neighbors will not. The answer of the official Minsk was the following: no debt, there is only a couple of nuances that need to be addressed. Such disputes arise every year, when Belarusians once again are trying by all hook and crook to bring down the price of Russian fuel deliveries. It all begins with mutual claims of energy officials, and solved, as a rule, at the level of heads of state which come to a compromise. However, this year could be a turning point. Some experts believe that Russia will not change the price tag down for the sake of political interests.
“the Ministry of energy informs that Belarus has no debt for imported natural gas”,— is reported on the website of the energy Ministry of Belarus. Such was the response made on the previous day from the mouth of Miller reminders to Minsk on the debt of $165 million, followed by the threat of revision of price of Russian gas for Belarus will not be until the repayment of this debt.
this year, the price of gas for Minsk recorded at the previous $127 per thousand cubic meters, the annual supply contract was signed 14 February 2020. Note that for Russia, the breakeven is equal to imported gas, according to experts, about $100 per thousand cubic meters. The market considers a fair price of $130-135 for the whole of Europe. On this background, Belarus has been the lowest price tag among the countries-exporters.
Claims from Minsk arrived for the reason that the pandemic has caused a fall in energy prices around the world — it happened in April-may, after signing the agreement. The cost of gas fell on the spot markets in Europe to historic lows. Now in Europe gas costs about $40. Therefore, the Belarusian side requested renegotiations. To buy gas from competitors in Russia for Minsk is very disadvantageous in the power of logistics and transport costs. In the past Belarus tried the supply of fuel from Europe but this option was significantly more expensive than the Russian proposals.
As events develop around the gas dispute between neighbors now? The opinions of the experts interviewed by “MK” on this subject differ.
“the Dispute about gas prices between Moscow and Minsk is a long – standing, it is resumed with a new force every year, but nothing has changed, — says Director of the energy development Fund Sergey Pikin. Lukashenka says that the cost of gas for Belarus should be at the level of prices in Smolens��Oh region. That at the last meeting of the Eurasian Union, the heads of Armenia and Belarus said that they want to receive Russian gas at lower cost. The President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin said that this is only possible if between our countries will establish a unified budget and a unified taxation system. To increase the level of integration, talking about discounts to the price of gas prematurely.” Pikine is convinced that Russia does not want to change the value of deliveries “blue fuel” to a lower value.
Another opinion the head of analytical Department AMarkets Artem Deev. According to him, political, commercial and cultural relations among States were built over the years, so the dialogue countries is more important than the differences, and heads will find a way to compromise. “The Russian side this may be the adjustment of cost of cubic metre, and Belarus compensation for used natural resources,” he said.
meanwhile, Russia on the background of a sharp drop in gas prices in Europe selectively reduces the price of those individual consumers. Just for Georgia reduced the price by 15 percent to $155-160 per thousand cubic meters (according to unofficial data). Also reduced prices for Bulgaria by 40%. “This is a General trend. But for some consumers of the Russian gas giant and does temporarily stop the supply to operate at a loss,” – said the head of IAC “Alpari” Alexander Razuvaev. How will the Belarus?
“In the end, Lukashenko and Putin will discuss gas prices. With 100 percent probability they will agree, as it always has been. — the analyst believes. — Belarus is not just a neighboring country in the CIS, it is a Federal state. The conflict between Moscow and Minsk is useless. In Belarus, elections are coming, and a small victory in the gas confrontation only add to Mr. Lukshenko votes”.