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Russian oil exports to Belarus continuing
An agreement on crude deliveries to Belarus has not been signed so far, but Russian oil is being supplied to the two Belarusian refineries, Igor Sechin, Russia's deputy prime minister, said on January 4, BelaPAN said.
Crude oil exported to Belarus was subject to reduced export duty, which was 35.6 percent of the rate applied to oil exports to other countries, but the arrangement expired last year and Russia wants the full rate to be applied to crude exports to Belarus starting January 1, Russia's RIA Novosti reported with reference to Mr. Sechin.
The deputy prime minister noted that Russia had offered to supply up to six million tons of oil to Belarus free of duty for its domestic consumption in 2010.
Agreements on oil deliveries within the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia, which came into existence on January 1, 2010, are to be signed in the next few months, Mr. Sechin said.
Commenting on Minsk's claims that crude oil should be supplied free of duty within the Customs Union, Mr. Sechin said, "We proceed from signed documents. The issue of the movement of hydrocarbons should be determined by an additional agreement."
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin told Mr. Sechin to continue talks on oil deliveries and transit with the Belarusian government. "Hopefully, agreements will be reached in the near future," Mr. Putin was quoted as saying.
Meanwhile, Irina Yesipova, spokeswoman for the Russian energy ministry, denied reports that the talks had not been resumed on January 4. "The process of negotiations with the Belarusian side continues and has not been stopped," she said.