Rosneft President Igor Sechin wants the Russian government-controlled company to become the sole supplier of crude oil to Belarus.
Mr. Sechin met with Alyaksandr Lukashenka in Minsk on Wednesday, promising to satisfy the country's oil needs in full, Russia's newspaper Kommersant reported with reference to its sources.
"Rosneft wants to get all lucrative contracts with Belarus, including by taking them away from other oil companies. Moreover, Igor Sechin is ready to become an informal supervisor of economic relations between the two countries, for instance of Russian investors' plans to buy Belarusian companies," said Kommersant.
The paper said that Russia appeared to have backed down on its plans to cut sharply oil deliveries to Belarus in the fourth quarter of this year. Arkady Dvorkovich, Russia's deputy prime minister who announced the planned cuts in August, was expected to discuss the matter with his Belarusian counterpart, Uladzimir Syamashka, in Moscow on Thursday, but Mr. Sechin's visit to Minsk "changed the plans and the meeting was postponed indefinitely."
Citing its sources, Kommersant reported that Mr. Sechin had met with Mr. Lukashenka's eldest son and aide Viktar some two weeks before. He reportedly suggested at the meeting that Rosneft be made the only exporter of crude oil to Belarus.
The paper said that the volume of Russian oil deliveries to Belarus through the Druzhba pipeline would be reduced by 230,000 tons, not by 400,000 tons as originally announced.
Rosneft's plans are likely to run counter to the interests of other Russian oil companies, which do not want to lose the Belarusian market, the paper warned.