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Belarus to buy Russian gas at $119 per 1,000 cu m in 1Q08

 Russia's natural gas will be supplied to Belarus in the first quarter of 2008 at the price of $119 per 1,000 cubic meters, a high-placed source in the Russian energy giant Gazprom said Saturday.

"Despite earlier agreements on the price for Turkmenistan's natural gas at $100 [per 1,000 cu m], it will be purchased at $130 in the first half of 2008, while Russian natural gas will be supplied to Belarus at $119," the source said.

On January 1, Russia raised the price of its gas supplies to Belarus to $100 per 1,000 cubic meters from $46.7 in 2006, which sparked an energy dispute between the two countries and triggered more accusations in Europe that Russia is using oil and gas as a political weapon.

"Thus in reality, we are preserving a privileged level of energy carriers supplies to Belarus," he said adding that currently the price on the Russian natural gas for Belarus is the lowest in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

The source also said that Belarus confirmed its readiness to honor all commitments on Russian natural gas transits to Europe.

"Gazprom views this as a serious contribution from Russia and Belarus into stability of European energy market," he said.

On Friday, addressing a news conference after the Union State session, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the price of Russian natural gas for Belarus would remain unchanged in 2008.

The Russian leader added that Russian natural gas monopoly Gazprom would honor all commitments under contracts signed last year.

"Gas prices for Belarus will certainly be raised, but within the levels fixed in last year's agreement. We will stick to previous contracts, despite the fact that Russia will buy gas at a higher price than we will sell to Belarus," said Putin.

Speaking about gas transits to Belarus, President Alexander Lukashenko said in turn: "Supplies of natural gas and oil hugely contribute to strengthening stability across the whole of Europe. We are making this contribution to stability and expect appropriate action on security provisions for our countries from Europe."

RIA Novosti

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