At a working meeting held today at Gazpromís headquarters, Gazpromís Management Committee Chairman, Alexey Miller, and Belarusí Deputy Prime Minister, Vladimir Semashko, agreed to discuss cooperation prospects between Russia and Belarus in the gas industry.
A. Miller proposed V. Semashko to accelerate the process of concluding the Gas Supply Agreement for 2004. The parties agreed to keep on negotiating the establishment of a joint gas transportation company based on the Beltransgaz company.
On April 12, 2002, the Governments of Russia and Belarus signed the Agreements on Establishing Equal Conditions in Pricing and on Expanding Cooperation in the Gas Industry. Under the first Agreement, Gazprom is to supply gas to Belarus at wholesale price of Russiaís 5th price zone. Under the second Agreement, Belarus must provide for the conditions to jointly establish a gas transportation enterprise based on the Beltransgaz company.
The Agreement between Gazprom and Beltransgaz calls for delivering 10.2 bcm of natural gas to Belarus. In 2003, Belarus paid for gas deliveries basically in cash, or by providing gas transit services.
Russian gas transit through Belarus totaled 30.9 bcm in 2003 and will reach 31.3 bcm in 2004. Gazprom transits gas via the Yamal-Europe transcontinental gas pipeline through Belarus to Poland and then to Germany; afterwards, natural gas goes via the Belarus gas transportation system to Lithuania and Ukraine, and the city of Kaliningrad. Russian gas transit volumes 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 an annual design capacity of 33 bcm is the major gas main 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 accumulated indebtedness totaled RR 134.59 million. Under the Agreement, the debt must be redeemed within 3 years.
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