Belarusian Oil Refinery is detrimental
Regardless of the benefits provided by the government to the refineries, Naftan and Mozyr refineries topped the list of the most unprofitable businesses with a net loss in the first half of 2011 of Br 205.6 billion and Br 184.306 billion respectively.
Concern “Belneftekhim” has reported that almost half of its enterprises have reached positive trade balance of over $ 2 billion and met all the planned goals.
The average rate of premium to Russian oil suppliers during the first half of 2011 amounted to about $ 6 per 1 barrel, or more than $ 44 per 1 ton (increased by 4 times). The Belarusian authorities believe it puts the Belarusian refiners in unequal working conditions within the EEA and makes refining at Belarusian enterprises unprofitable.
Regardless of the abolition of export duties on Russian oil Belarusian oil refineries could not make profits, which reduced their attractiveness to investors significantly.
With regard to the positive balance of $ 2 billion reported by “Belneftekhim”, it is not quite true. The concern management is manipulating figures, in particular, while calculating the balance in the composition of export earnings it also accounted for export duty on oil products, which Belarus is obliged to transfer to Russia. Bearing this in mind, in the first half of 2011 “Belneftekhim” should have paid to the Federal Budget over $ 1.2 billion, which implies the real trade surplus of the concern is about $ 800 million
The Belarusian authorities regard the Catholic conference as yet another international event to promote Minsk as a global negotiating platform. Minsk’s proposal to organise a meeting between the Roman-Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church is rather an image-making undertaking than a serious intention. However, the authorities could somewhat extend the opportunities for the Roman-Catholic Church in Belarus due to developing contacts with the Catholic world.
Minsk is attempting to lay out a mosaic from various international religious, political and sportive events to shape a positive image of Belarus for promoting the Helsinki 2.0 idea.
Belarus’ invitation to the head of the Holy See for a meeting with the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church should be regarded as a continuation of her foreign policy efforts in shaping Minsk’s peacekeeping image and enhancing Belarus’ international weight. The Belarusian authorities are aware that their initiative is unlikely to find supporters among the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow. In Russia, isolationist sentiments prevail.
In addition, for domestic audiences, the authorities make up for the lack of tangible economic growth with demonstrations of growth in Minsk’s authority at international level through providing a platform for religious, sportive and other dialogues.