Belarus set for higher gas payments

MOSCOW, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- Russian energy giant Gazprom will charge Belarus 12 percent more for natural gas starting in the first quarter of 2010, executives in Moscow said.

Gazprom chief Alexei Miller met with Vladimir Semashko, the vice premier of Belarus, at his Moscow office to discuss the terms of bilateral gas agreements.

Miller said that under the terms of a contract signed with Beltransgaz in 2006, Belarus will pay $168 per 1,000 cubic meters of gas in the first quarter of 2010, up from $150 per 1,000 cubic meters in 2009.

"Due to the absence of the export duty, natural gas price for Belarus is considerably lower as compared to other purchasers of Russian gas," Miller noted. "At the same time, the previously agreed period of transition to higher prices enables the Belarusian economy to adapt to the new conditions."

Gazprom and Beltransgaz in 2006 agreed on a transit contract through 2011 that gave Belarus a price lower than the rest of Europe. The contract says in 2011 Belarus will transition to a "gas price equally profitable to Gazprom with the price paid for gas deliveries to Europe," the energy giant said.

Gazprom in 2010 completes the acquisition of a 50-percent stake in Beltransgaz.


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