In H1 2015 oil supplies to Belarus will not reduce
In January – February 2015, Belarus supplied 140 thousand tons of petrol to the Russian market with annual supply volume agreed at 1.8 million tons. In March, Belarus stopped petrol supplies.
According to the agreements with Russia, if Belarus fails to supply petrol according to the plan, Russia may reduce oil supplies in the amount of 5 tons per ton of undersupplied oil products. However, due to changes in the refinery economy, Russia will not apply restrictive measures to Belarus. In 2015, Belarus, therefore, might maintain petroleum products production volumes at the level of 2014. Nevertheless, financial health of the Belarusian refineries might deteriorate. Firstly, due to falling oil prices, and secondly, due to the increased demand of the government to transfer refineries’ funds to the budget. On the domestic market, the cost of fuel is no longer tied to the US dollar, but fuel prices will not be reduced due to the need to supplement the budget in 2015.
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.