Gazprom resumes full supplies, says transit fees too high

Russia's state-run gas monopoly Gazprom resumed on Thursday full gas deliveries to Belarus, but said Minsk has requested a higher price for gas transits different from the current contract stipulates.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's spokeswoman, Natalya Timakova, said Gazprom Chief Executive Officer Alexei Miller discussed the issue by phone with President Medvedev, now on a visit to the United States.

"During the telephone conversation, Miller informed the president that Belarus had paid in full for gas deliveries under the price stipulated in the contract and Gazprom has decided to resume full gas supplies," Timakova said.

"Today the Belarusian side has paid in full for its Russian gas supplies debts, which have been accumulating since the beginning of 2010. I reported to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on this. At 10:00 Moscow time [07:00 GMT] Gazprom resumed full gas deliveries to Belarus," Miller said.

However, Miller said Belarus had requested too high a price for gas transits via its territory.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said the payment of transit fees should be carried out under the rates stipulated in the 2006 bilateral contract.

A Gazprom spokesman said the company had paid $228 million for gas transits.

Gazprom reduced gas supplies to Belarus by 15% on Monday, deepening the cuts to 30% on Tuesday and then 60% on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko said gas transit to Europe would be suspended, potentially affecting 6.25% of consumers.

The dispute between Russia and Belarus has erupted as Minsk has refused to pay the Russian gas price, set at $169 per 1,000 cubic meters for the first quarter of the year and $185 for the second quarter, and has been paying only $150 since January 1.

Gazprom admitted it owed money for gas transits but did not specify the amount, only saying it could not make the payments to settle the debt because Minsk had failed to issue the relevant documents.

NOVOKUZNETSK, June 24 (RIA Novosti)


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