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Beltransgaz in exchange for cheap gas for Belarus

Belarus is ready to give away the controlling interest in Beltransgaz if the gas price Belarus pays will be equal to Russia’s domestic price, said President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko in response to questions of students of Mogilev universities on 27 May.

“If the Russians say they will sell gas to Belarus at domestic prices and on equal terms, we don’t mind their taking the controlling interest. The same applies to oil refineries. Cheap oil is a good condition. Not for free,” stressed the President.

“They would like to get these enterprises almost for free. I openly told them that there is no such thing as a free lunch. We will not sell anything for nothing,” said Alexander Lukashenko.

“There is no more pro-Russian person than the president before you,” said the head of state. “But if the Russian brothers try to bend us like that, we will cut off the dependence [on oil supplies]. We will not be brought to our knees. Not because I am a hard negotiator or because of my ill nature, there are 10 million people behind me”.

Alexander Lukashenko reminded that Union State treaties were once signed to become laws for the two countries. One of the laws provided for equal economic conditions for all economic operators. However, Russia has unilaterally withdrawn from the treaty. “Who would have thought! It is the only case in the international practice: our ally Russia has refused to abide by the treaty that the presidents had signed. Russia would not like equal terms and would sell energy resources at a high price,” said the President. “They saw that we profited a lot from it. But it is explained by our modernization. They turned out non-competitive not only in Russia and Belarus but also in the West”.

“They decided to put heat on us. They told us: give us the enterprises, we will supply oil without duties, i.e. at prices that will be equal in Russia and Belarus,” said Alexander Lukashenko. After Belarus’ refusal Russia introduced oil duties that doubled the price. “The oil became unaffordable for us. They calculated it would be and decided to drive us into a corner,” he reminded. Russia suggested supplying about 6 million tonnes for domestic consumption without duties and the rest with duties. According to the President, this scheme cannot satisfy Belarus either because the oil refineries would operate at a loss.

Alexander Lukashenko said he had had to contact the President of Venezuela to arrange Venezuelan oil supplies to Belarus. In exchange Belarusian specialists will help to revise Venezuela by helping to build residential districts, create enterprises and exemplary farms.

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