Russia to continue Belarus oil talks next week

MOSCOW, Jan 14 (Reuters) - Russia has so far failed to clinch an oil price agreement with Belarus, which stopped receiving oil deliveries on Jan 1, and talks will continue next week, Russia's Energy Ministry told Reuters on Friday.

Rows over prices and transit tariffs between Moscow and its neighbours, Belarus and Ukraine, have led to Russian oil and gas supply stoppages to Europe in the past.

Russian oil transit across Belarus via the Druzhba pipeline to European customers in Germany and Poland has not been affected, and Moscow has said it has looked into using other routes to ensure supplies continue.

"The negotiation process is not finished yet, it will continue next week," ministry spokeswoman Irina Yesipova told Reuters.

A spokesman for Rosneft (ROSN.MM), which produces over a fifth of Russia's total oil output, said it was in talks over prices with its Belarus partners.

Sources at Transneft (TRNF_p.MM), Russian oil pipeline monopoly, said not a barrel of oil has been deliveried to Belarus refineries since the beginning of the year.

Belarussian refinery operator Belneftekhim declined to comment. Belarus' refineries have a daily capacity of 360,000 barrels.

On Thursday, Nikolai Tokarev, head of Transneft, said Russia hopes to reach an oil price deal with Belarus this week and shipments could resume by next Tuesday. [ID:nLDE70C11U]

The disagreement over prices came to the fore after Minsk entered a free-trade zone with Russia and Kazakhstan, and subsequently, Russia dropped export duties for its oil supplies to Belarus.

(Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; additional reporting by Andrei Makhovsky in Minsk)


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