Belarus seeks more Baltic ports for Venezuelan oil

Alla Petrova, BC, Riga,

Belarus's hard-line President Alexander Lukashenko has boosted ties with Venezuela in a drive to secure alternative oil supplies as he battles with his country's neighbour and energy giant Russia, writes LETA/AFP.

Belarus is currently using Estonia's Muuga seaport, Lithuania's Klapeda and Ukraine's Odessa ports to unload Venezuelan oil.

Minsk also wants to use a Polotsk-Ventspils pipeline linking the Belarusian city and the Latvian Baltic sea port which is managed by LatRosTrans, 34-% owned by Russia's Transnefteprodukt.

Belarus signed a contract with Venezuela in March 2010 for four million tons of oil, with annual deliveries to rise up to 10 million tonnes.

Like Belarus, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania won independence as the Soviet Union crumbled in 1991.

The Baltic trio, which joined the European Union in 2004, have pitched trade links as a way to help spur reforms in Belarus and bring the country closer to the 27-nation EU bloc.


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