Lukashenka violates obligations on oil products supplies to Russia.
Dmitry Gusev, commercial director of Novotek Trading, told RBC daily that there had been no offers from Belarusian refineries at Saint-Petersburg International Mercantile Exchange (SPIMEX) for the second week.
SPIMEX confirms there were no deals. “They probably make reserves of fuel inside the country in case of a reduction in Russian oil supplies,” Dmitry Gusev thinks.
The two countries work in accordance with the so called oil balance – Belarusian refineries process Russian oil and return oil products to Russia. Oil balances were signed only for the first, second and third quarters of 2013. The demand for additional volumes of Belarusian fuel appeared after Euro 2 fuel was banned in Russia in January. These oil products were to replace the lost volumes and serve as a guarantee against a repeat of the petrol crisis of spring 2011.
Things were good until summer. In July, Moscow accused Minsk of failure to fulfil its obligations, because sales of Belarusian fuel on the exchange fell. It was figured out that Belarusians offered petrol, but no one wanted to buy it due to high prices. Belarus has obligations to supply fuel to Russia, but has no obligations regarding the prices and delivery schedule, Dmitry Gusev reminds. Russian refineries raised fuel prices following Belarusians. As a result the prices on the exchange go up by 20%.
Absence of Belarusian petrol cannot seriously affect Russia's domestic market and lead to fuel deficit, thinks Alexander Shkurin, a deputy head of the marketing research department at Kortes information centre. Supplies of Belarusian petrol to Russia have increased to 484,000 tonnes for the last 6 months (the total fuel import to Russia is 522,000 tonnes), according to him. Deliveries from Belarus were 225,000 tonnes in 2012 (the total import is 258,000 tonnes). “Supplies from Belarus this year can exceed the total import of 2012 two times,” he notes.