Belarus seeks to diversify oil, gas imports - Lukashenko

MINSK, November 12 (Itar-Tass) - Belarus plans to buy less than half of oil it needs from Russia in 2011, President Alexander Lukashenko said in an interview with Germany's media on Friday.

"Next year we will probably get less than half of oil exports from Russia, the rest - from the world markets," he said recalling that Belarus sealed a deal with Venezuela on the export of no less that 30 million tonnes of oil within three years.

He noted that this year was the hardest ever for Belarus after Russia introduced oil customs duties.

"But we normally got out of the existing situation. Today all refineries are loaded with oil by 100 percent," Lukashenko said.

As for gas supplies the Belarussian leader said "Gazprom's profitability in Belarus is higher than that in Germany." "I think that it is not a long way to the world prices. If such gas export price increase takes place, of course, we will cope with it," he said.

Lukashenko underlined that Belarus would continue to buy Russia's natural gas. However, to diversify gas import routes Belarus will build gas liquefaction terminals to buy gas in Europe, Qatar or Norway.

He noted that Belarus has already been conducting talks with Poland and the Baltic states.


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