Gazprom Ready to Sue Belarus

Gazprom has warned Belarus that, if Belarus does not meet its obligations to pay for Russian natural gas in full, the company will retain the right to sue. The Gazprom press service reports that deputy head of the monopoly Alexander Ananenkov made that statement at a meeting with general director of Beltransgaz Vladimir Mayorov at which they discussed the contract for delivery of natural gas to Belarus from 2007 to 2011.

"Particular attention was paid to the need for full payment of current deliveries of Russian gas to Belarus. It was emphasized that, according to the contract, beginning in 2008, the price of the gas for the republic would be calculated by a price formula that was the most comfortable for Gazprom deliveries to the countries of the CIS and Europe," the statement read. The size of Belarus's debt was not specified.

On the evening of December 31, 2006, after difficult negotiations, Gazprom and Belarus signed a contract for the delivery and transit of gas. In 2007, the price of gas rose from $46.68 to $100 per 1000 cu. m. This year, Belarus is paying 67 percent of the European price for gas. In 2009 and 2010, it will pay 90 percent of the European price, then full price in 2011. In addition, Gazprom is buying a 50-percent share in Beltransgaz for $2.5 billion, in four payments.

Belarus was unable to pay the price agreed on for 2007 in full at the time the contract was signed, so it was given six months to pay 55 percent of the sum, and until July 23, 2007, to pay the remainder. Belarus did not do so, but paid on August 9, 2007, after a short conflict with Gazprom that ended with an ultimatum.