Belarus to get Venezuelan oil via Lithuania

Petras Vaida, BC, Vilnius,

The Baltic state of Lithuania is shortly to receive a trial shipment of almost 550,000 barrels of Venezuelan crude oil bound for neighbouring Belarus, a senior official said Monday.

Rokas Masiulis, general manager of Lithuania's state-owned oil terminal company Klaipedos Nafta, told AFP that the shipment of 548,100 barrels was due to dock in the port of Klaipeda on August 29.

The oil-transit deal was signed last week, he added.

Masiulis said the trial shipment would help gauge the technical possibilities for importing more Venezuelan crude oil in the future, writes LETA/ELTA.

"We are negotiating on two million tonnes a year. Our goal is a long-term contract with the Belarussian side," he said.

Two million tonnes of oil is the equivalent of over 13.7 million barrels. Belarus's hardline President Alexander Lukashenko has boosted ties with Venezuela in a drive to secure alternative oil supplies amid regular sparring with neighbour and energy giant Russia.

Ex-communist Lithuania, which joined the European Union in 2004, has meanwhile pitched trade links as a way to help spur reforms in Belarus and bring the country closer to the 27-nation bloc.


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