Supplies of own oil from Belarus’ state oil company Belorusneft to Germany were suspended this month as Minsk needs to compensate for shortages of Russia-sourced oil amid a contract dispute with Moscow, four industry sources told Reuters on Friday.
Russia suspended oil supplies to Belarus on Jan. 1 in relation to a dispute over supply contract terms between Moscow and Minsk. Two Russian firms, Russneft and Neftisa, restored some supplies late on Jan. 4.
Belorusneft’s decision to suspend oil flows to Germany shows the challenges Minsk is facing while trying to negotiate the new oil supply deal with Russia. Moscow and Minsk have had several oil and gas spats over the past decade.
The Belorusneft supplies are separate from Russian oil transit to Europe via the Druzhba pipeline, part of which comes via Belarus and which so far has not been affected.
Belorusneft supplies more than 100,000 tons per month of its crude oil to PCK Raffinerie GmbH in the northeast of Germany. The refinery is majority-owned by Rosneft (54.17%). Royal Dutch Shell has 37.5% in the plant, while Italian Eni owns 8.33%.
Belorusneft and Rosneft did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment. PCK’s spokeswoman Vica Fajnor did not respond to Reuters’ calls on Friday.
Rosneft has said it is the third-largest oil refining company on the German market with a total crude oil refining capacity of up to 12.5 million tonnes per year, representing more than 12% of Germany’s capacity.
Belorusneft supplies are a tenth of the refinery’s needs. Russian oil firms Russneft and Neftisa, part of tycoon Mikhail Gutseriyev’s business, restored supplies to Belarus on Jan. 4 – the only Russian companies to do so.
Other Russian companies are continuing to work on new supply contract terms with state-run Belneftekhim, which controls Belarus’ two refineries.