Russia Threatens to Cut Oil to Belarus

abarrelfullabarrelfull wrote on 14 Jan 2010 08:52
Tags: belarus druzhba pipeline russia

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We are familiar with the plotline. In the middle of winter, Russia demands higher prices for its energy exports to its neighbour, and threatens to shut the pipeline if its demands are not met.

Ukraine & Gas? Not this time.

Russian oil flows to one of two Belarussian refineries could be suspended within 24 hours because oil firms are unwilling to confirm volumes due to a ongoing pricing dispute, Russia's pipeline monopoly said.

Once again, we see that Russia sees energy as a source of power, not just a business. The dispute is not just a problem for Belarus either.

Last year, Moscow allowed Minsk to import 20 million metric tons of oil, of which 14.5 million metric tons Minsk re-exported to Europe.

“This is a bilateral dispute between Russia and Belarus. The European Commission expects all sides to honor the commitments both in terms of transit and oil supplies to European citizens,” said Mark Gray, a spokesman for the European Commission.

The European Union receives about 10 percent of its oil via the Druzhba pipeline, which crosses Belarus.

Once again, Eastern and Central Europe may see supply problems.

As always, the Russian argument is not without its merits, and there is no reason why Russia should subsidise cheap energy to its neighbours. However, Russia is cleary abusing its position in order to increase its control over the energy markets. The signal that it is sending out to Europe (if its boneheaded politicians will listen) is that Russia cannot be trusted.

Bit Tooth Energy has a more detailed take on the story


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