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.
Last week, Belarusian Foreign Minister Makei participated in the foreign ministers’ meeting of the Eastern Partnership and Visegrad Group initiative hosted by Warsaw. The Belarusian FM emphasized Belarus' interest in cooperation in the transport sector, which could be due to Belarus’ desire to export electricity surplus after Belarus finished construction of the nuclear power plant in Ostrovets. Minsk expressed concerns about Warsaw’s stance on the Belarusian NPP, as it refused to buy electricity from Belarus and supported Vilnius’ protest on this issue. Following accusations by the Belarusian leadership and the state media against western states, including Poland, of training "nationalist militants", Minsk did not agree on the visit of the European Parliament deputies from Lithuania and Germany to Belarus and to the NPP construction site near Ostrovets in particular. In addition, the Belarusian authorities have stepped up efforts to enforce education in Russian in Polish-language schools in Grodno and Vaukavysk. Should a rift in Belarusian-Polish relations persist, the Belarusian authorities are likely to step up the pressure on the Polish-speaking minority in Belarus.