Russia promises a discount on gas for Belarus
Putin said, “The decision to introduce a special reduced gas price calculation formula for Belarus in 2012 in the view of integration has been made”. He added that the price level will be determined via bilateral negotiations between economic entities.
Putin also said that final agreement will be linked to the acquisition by Gazprom of the remaining 50% of Beltransgaz.
Putin said, “The decision to introduce a special reduced gas price calculation formula for Belarus in 2012 in the view of integration has been made”.
The fact that Belarus will receive some preferential treatment in case of sale of the remaining shares of Beltransgaz was not doubted. The question is, how much the discount will be and what for. If in 2012 "Gazprom" sells gas to Belarus at Russian prices, its revenues will decline by USD 2.5-3 billion, which is hardly acceptable for Gazprom. Calculating a discount from the market price of USD 340, the expected market price for the next year will constitute USD 250-280 with 20-30% discount. Therefore, at least gas prices will stop growing and in the best case scenario will be less than the average price in 2011 (USD 180).
Earlier this year the shareholders of “Gazprom” agreed at the annual meeting that the supply to Belarus in 2012-2014 will not exceed 69 billion cubic meters of gas for a total maximum amount of USD 17.25 billion. Therefore the marginal value of 1 thousand cubic meters for Belarus is unlikely to exceed USD 250, which gives Belarus USD 7 billion in gas subsidy over the next three years.
Moreover, one should recall Putin’s words that “the integration ratio for energy supplies constitutes direct assistance and support, however is not a gift”.
Moreover, one should recall Putin’s words that “the integration ratio for energy supplies constitutes direct assistance and support, however is not a gift”.Rather, it is a package deal for the participation of Russian companies in the privatization of Belarusian assets and their more active role at the Belarusian market. Therefore Belarus is gradually dragged to the orbit of integration with Russia.
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.