At a working meeting held today at Gazpromís headquarters Gazpromís Management Committee Chairman, Alexey Miller, and Belarusí Deputy Prime Minister, Vladimir Semashko, discussed cooperation prospects between Russia and Belarus in the gas industry.
The parties intend to conclude the Contract on gas supply to Belarus in 2004. Next year, independent gas suppliers are expected to deliver some 18.5 bcm of natural gas to Belarus, inclusive Gazpromís 10.2 bcm.
The parties agreed to join efforts to promptly finalize the agreement. At the same time, the parties keep on negotiating the contractual terms for establishing a joint gas transportation enterprise based on the Beltransgaz company.
On April 12, 2002, the Governments of Russia and Belarus signed the Agreements on Establishing Equal Pricing Conditions and on Developing Cooperation in the Gas Industry. Under the first Agreement, Gazprom has to supply natural gas to Belarus at wholesale prices of Russiaís 5th price zone. Under the second Agreement, Belarus must lay foundation for setting up a joint gas transportation enterprise based on the Beltransgaz company.
The Gazprom-Beltransgaz Agreement envisages supply of 10.2 bcm of natural gas to Belarus. In 2003, Belarus paid for gas delivered basically in cash or by providing gas transit services.
Russian gas transit through Belarus totaled 30.9 bcm in 2003 and will attain 31.3 bcm in 2004. Gazprom supplies gas via the Yamal-Europe transcontinental gas pipeline through Belarus to Poland and then to Germany; afterwards, natural gas is delivered via the Belorussian gas transportation system to Lithuania and Ukraine and the city of Kaliningrad. Russian gas transit via the Yamal-Europe gas pipeline are estimated at 21.6 bcm in 2003 and 23 bcm in 2004. At present, the Yamal-Europe gas pipeline with annual design capacity of 33 bcm is the major gas trunk laid in Belarus.
On December 5, 2003, Gazprom and Beltransgaz signed the Agreement on restructuring the latter companyís indebtedness (USD 79 million) for natural gas supplied in 1999-2002. By November 1, 2003, Belarusian gas consumersí total indebtedness amounted to RR 134.59 million. Under the Agreement terms, the debt must be redeemed within 3 years.
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