Belarus started importing oil from Norway on Jan. 21 after Russia, its primary oil provider, suspended supplies earlier this month amid stalled talks on further strengthening economic ties between two countries.
Belarusian state-run oil company Belneftekhim said its subsidiary bought 80,000 tones of crude oil from Norway, which is expected to be delivered to the countrys refineries via rail in the next few days.
Importing oil from alternative sources is more expensive for Belarus than cheap Russian supplies. But Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko sees it as an important message for the Kremlin, Valery Karbalevich, a political analyst from the Minsk-based Strategia think tank, told The Associated Press.
“Lukashenko is sending a clear signal to the Kremlin that he is ready to tighten his belt, but isnt ready to become a Russian governor,” Karbalevich said.
Russia stopped supplying oil to its post-Soviet neighbor after Dec. 31. The two nations had failed to renegotiate an agreed oil price for this year during drawn-out negotiations on deepening the integration of their economies.
The Russian suspension did not affect oil crossing Belarus to Europe or the supply of natural gas but had consequences for Belarus, which relies on Russia for more than 80 percent of its overall energy needs.
Russia resumed limited supplies to Belarus on Jan. 4, but Lukashenko vowed to look for alternative oil suppliers.
On Tuesday, Lukashenko acknowledged, “currently, there is no alternative for all oil supplies from Russia.” He said Belarus needs to diversify and should work to import no more than 40 percent of the oil it needs from Russia.
“Another 30 percent we should import from the Baltics, and the remaining 30 percent through Ukraine,” Lukashenko said at a government meeting.
The Kremlin has recently increased the pressureRead More – Source