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Russian gas supply to Belarus now cut by 60 per cent

Alexey Miller, Chairman of the Gazprom Management Committee (at the Emergency Response Team meeting) said:

“There are two items of news, one good and one bad. Let’s start from the good one – Russian gas is transited across Belarus in full and Russian gas consumers experience no problems with supply. The bad news is that the Belarusian party makes no efforts to repay the debt for Russian gas deliveries. Starting from 10 am Moscow time on June 23, 2010 Russian gas supply to the Republic of Belarus will be cut by 60 per cent. Gas supply to Belarus will be limited proportionally to the outstanding debt amount.”

Gazprom released a comment on payment for gas supplied in May 2010:

Beltransgaz has paid for the Russian gas supplied in May.

The amount of payment is USD 260.134 million. It was calculated by Beltransgaz in compliance with the gas supply contract dated December 31, 2006.

Thus, the Belarusian party has conceded that gas is to be paid for according to the contractual price formula.

At the same time, Beltransgaz must promptly repay the amount in arrears, which is USD 192 million, for the period of Russian gas deliveries to Belarus from the beginning of 2010.

Information Directorate, Gazprom

Sergey Kupriyanov, Gazprom official spokesman said:

“It is well known that throughout the year Beltransgaz has been systematically violating the terms and conditions of payment for Russian gas. This accumulated USD 192 million in arrears for the period from January to April. Numerous appeals to the Beltransgaz leadership and the Belarusian Government, starting from this March, with the claim for debt repayment had no effect. Meanwhile, our Belarusian counterparts know for sure what exact sanctions shall be imposed pursuant to the contract in case of payment in arrears – reduced supply. This is what was done yesterday – by 15 per cent and today – by another 15 per cent, in full compliance with the contract.

However, instead of finding the money, they decided in Minsk to shut off the Russian gas pipeline. Today the Belarusian President has announced the transit shutoff, and First Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Semashko has officially informed Gazprom on his instruction to start gas offtake from the transit pipeline for Belarusian domestic needs. With absolutely no grounds for that! This is not only our gas! This is our pipe, the ownership of the pipe belongs to Gazprom!

In this environment Gazprom has commenced working out possible alternatives of gas supply to our European customers. Firstly – transit across Ukraine. Kiev has confirmed its willingness to convey additional gas volumes. Secondly – potential gas utilization from the underground gas storages located in Europe and the spot market. It should be noted that there are no problems here. We are sure that our European customers will receive the amount of gas provided for in the respective contracts regardless of the actions of Minsk.

We would like to tell our Belarusian counterparts: your decision to shut off gas transit is no reason not to repay the debt!”

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