Another “energy war” erupted between Belarus and Russia in the previous months, was not in vain for the participants. In the first half of 2020, oil exports from our country to Belarus was reduced almost twice. Further is unlikely to be better: the other day foreign Minister of Belarus Vladimir Makei made the statement that Minsk will continue to diversify oil supplies, reducing the share of imports from Russia. “MK” asked to rate the experts, whether the neighboring Republic to do without Russian “black gold.

For the first 6 months of this year, oil exports from our country to Belarus decreased by 44.3% compared to the same period of 2019, totaling 4,646 million tons. This happened due to the oil conflict between Minsk and Moscow, which consisted in the fact that the sides with the end of 2019 could not agree on long-term contracts because of price differences.

meanwhile, Russian oil supplies to Belarus are Minsk serious support to Supplement the income of the Federal budget. Not having its own sources of energy, the Federal Republic buys Russian “black gold”, then it processes and exports to the West, earning on the difference in value of crude and finished fuel.

since the beginning of the “zero” Minsk imported Russian oil at a discount of 17%, which was a good subsidy for the Belarusian economy. In 2017, the two countries signed an agreement allowing Belarus to 2024 to obtain raw materials at preferential prices. In addition, the Minsk began to pick up in his Treasury in export duties from the “Peremogi” — a complex tax scheme that allows you to collect fiscal charging raw material suppliers are not exporters, and importers of hydrocarbons.

After the so-called tax maneuver, which Russia started in 2019 (it is the gradual zeroing of export duties on oil and increase tax on mineral extraction), subsidizing the Belarusian Treasury stopped. Which forced Minsk to Express publicly their dissatisfaction with Moscow and to seek the replacement of Russian “black gold”. Belarus began to buy oil from alternative sources – in particular, this year was already the supplies from Azerbaijan, Norway, Saudi Arabia and the United States.

recently a resonant statement was made by Minister of foreign Affairs of Belarus Vladimir Makei. He said that the June crude oil delivery from the USA was not a single step, and recalled the instruction of the President of Belarus to provide 30% of the required volume of hydrocarbons imports from Russia. According to the head of the foreign Ministry, the diversification of oil supplies has priority over economic expediency.

Recall that on 5 June in the Lithuanian port of Klaipeda arrived the first tanker with America��Russian oil for Belarus, which became the twelfth tanker with oil from “alternative sources” for the enterprises of the Republic. According to Secretary of state Michael Pompeo, the transaction of Belarus with oil supply “is strengthening Belarusian sovereignty and independence.”

However, at the moment, the tanker volume of the hydrocarbons supplies to Belarus amounted to about 1 million tons – less than 5% of the total annual volume of oil imports for Belarus and the cost of petroleum products from alternative sources was much higher than the “expensive” (in the opinion of the Belarusian side) of Russian oil.

How realistic are the plans of the Belarusian authorities to diversify oil supplies and whether Minsk to do without Russian oil? With these questions, “MK” turned to the experts.

Artem DEEV, head of the analytical Department AMarkets:

“the Head of Belarus tasked agencies to provide 30% of oil supplies from alternative sources and the United States, and Saudi Arabia, and Norway, and Azerbaijan. But deliveries are small and completely replace the Russian volumes will not.

in addition, the Belarusian refineries are set up for sour crude oil grade Urals, the main export grade of Russian. He is now in deficit. That is, to replace all Belarus Russian Urals will not be the same oil from the U.S. last tanker is a light oil. Her Belarusian oil refineries are used as “additive”, mixing with Russian oil in small proportions. But in the States themselves supplied to Belarus oil is considered illiquid, American refineries are unable to work on it and trying to get in all ways. By the way, the tanker from the U.S. to swap oil for Belarus, I filled in the empty tanks of the Russian Urals, and took him to American manufacturers of petroleum products.

So, despite various statements that Belarus will not be able to completely abandon Russian oil. The only variety that can completely replace the volume of Russia – the raw material from Venezuela, but so far it is not possible due to local political-economic problems. Alternative supplies from other countries will be able to provide Minsk with a maximum of about 30% the right amount – they will be used in addition to the Russian raw materials needed by Belarusian oil refineries”.

Vadim IOSUB, senior analyst “Alpari Eurasia”:

“Belarus is committed to the diversification of sources of oil supplies. Despite the fact that the subject of logistics and has not yet reached the end of the tax maneuver in the Russian oil remains cheaper than any alternatives. But the benefits of cheap Russian oil there, if Moscow “closes the valve”, as it was in January-February of the current year. Due to the lack of agreement on compensation of the tax maneuver�� and the value of the award suppliers, Moscow has left Minsk in the beginning of the year entirely without oil. To avoid such risks in the future, Belarus has set a strategic goal of reducing dependence on one supplier. It declared that in the long term, the share of Russian oil imports to Belarus will be reduced to 40%. Where will the rest? 30% will be supplied through terminals on the Baltic sea (oil from Norway, the US, independent oil traders). Yet the same terminals on the Black sea (oil from Azerbaijan, Saudi Arabia and other Middle East countries). While these regions were a single supply individual tankers, but Minsk is now negotiating medium – and long-term contracts. If you use the “oil valve” as a tool of pressure, the consumer is forced to draw conclusions and to reduce the possibility of pressure on yourself.”