Belarus suggests oil swap with Azerbaijan

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has proposed a swap agreement to refine Azerbaijani crude.

He made the proposal to Rovnag Abdullayev, president of Azerbaijan's state oil company SOCAR, in Minsk on Friday.

Lukashenko said the proposal was not targeting a third party.

"We are not negotiating against anyone. I mean in supplies of Azerbaijani oil to Belarus, to our oil refineries and first of all on the swap scheme. We're not hiding it."

He described it as a win-win situation: "You win plenty of dollars per tonne and so do we."

Lukashenko said the oil would be pumped through the Odessa-Brody pipeline with access to the Druzhba (Friendship) pipeline and delivery to Belarusian refineries.

He said that if agreement could not be reached with Azerbaijan, "we'll still buy oil under the same conditions in the Mediterranean Sea, Black Sea, somewhere else, and bring it Belarus under a swap scheme".

"And we'll find a company that will supply the oil we produce and buy in Venezuela from Venezuela to Belarus," the president said. "But we would like to do it with our friends [Azerbaijan]."

Alexander Lukashenko expressed willingness to consider "all options for cooperation on hydrocarbon crude".

"Until we build our own plants to liquefy natural gas, and while Azerbaijan is liquefying its gas in Georgia or Russia, as Qatar does, then we will be happy to buy this natural gas from you," he said. "It will be much cheaper than buying gas from Gazprom."

Lukashenko said, "We cannot hide all these areas of cooperation and would like Azerbaijan to be our partner in this endeavour."

He said he had often discussed the issues with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev who was positive about it.

"I think it is time to take a few steps forward," Lukashenko said.

He asked Rovnag Abdullayev to convey his gratitude to President Aliyev for his support "in difficult times".

"We remember this, we will remember it and we always try to do what it best for Azerbaijan," the Belarusian leader said.

Abdullayev in turn said that President Aliyev had given him instructions before his trip.

He told Lukashenko that, "We have had a good discussion today on increasing our trade and on swaps. We've done a good job and found a solution."



Share |

Partners: Social Network