News2020.01.24 16:56

Belarus calls for regular oil imports via Baltics as first shipment arrives in Lithuania

BNS, 2020.01.24 16:56

As Minsk and Moscow are negotiating new oil tariffs, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko called for a third of the country’s oil supplies to come via Baltic states. Meanwhile on Thursday, the first Norwegian oil shipment bound for Belarus arrived in Klaipėda.

Lukashenko said on January 21 that the Baltic states and Ukraine could make up some 60 percent of Belarusian oil needs, according to the Russian state news agency TASS quoted by BNN. He added that “diversification” is required, despite there being “no full alternative to Russian oil”.

Read more: Lithuania ready to increase Belarusian transit volumes via Klaipėda port, PM says

First shipment for Belarus arrives in Lithuania

Meanwhile, the first Norwegian oil shipment arrived in Lithuania on Thursday morning. The first railcar for Belarus will depart Klaipėdos Nafta (Klaipėda Oil) terminal on Friday, Tomas Digaitis, spokesman for Lithuania's state-owned railway company Lietuvos Geležinkeliai (Lithuanian Railways, LG), told BNS.

Some 90 railcars a day will transport the oil via Lietuvos Geležinkeliai freight subsidiary, LG Cargo, to the Belarusian border over the next two weeks.

Orinta Barkauskaitė, spokeswoman for Klaipėdos Nafta, told BNS the offloading of the Norwegian oil to storage facilities is nearing completion.

"The whole oil will be taken out of Klaipėdos Nafta by around the middle of February," she told BNS.

The tanker brought 80,000 tons of Norwegian oil for Belarus' Naftan refinery.

The last time Belarus imported oil via Lithuania was in 2017. Klaipėdos Nafta could theoretically handle up to 3 million tons of crude oil per year.

Belarusian state-owned Belneftechim group told Reuters earlier this week that its subsidiary imported around 80,000 tons of oil from Norway's Johan Sverdrup,

Russia suspended oil supplies to Belarus' refineries on January 1, but partially restored them several days later, after Moscow and Minsk failed to agree on the terms of supplies for 2020.

Belarus' authorities said last week they had sent oil import proposals to the Baltic countries, Poland, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan.

Belarus imported 17.6 million tons of oil from Russia last year.

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