Kazakhstan to Sign Oil Supply Deal with Belarus: Official

Kazakhstan is going to sign an agreement with Belarus on supplies of oil and oil products by 2019 year-end, Kazakhstan’s deputy minister of Energy Aset Magauov told reporters on Friday, according to Belnovosti.

“It can be said we will sign by the year-end. We should hold a video conference with the Belarusian side and try to close out issues,” the official said. Arrangements on a range of issues should be reached for document signing, Magauov noted.

“I believe the text of the agreement has been coordinated on the whole between the two sectoral ministries and Belneftekhim. Two issues are outstanding. The first is related to commitments of the Belarusian side about absence of re-export. The point is that our oil products should not go further to third countries or oil products made from our oil should be for internal consumption,” the Vice-Minister said.

The second point that is negotiated now is the effective time of the agreement. “Considering that these two issues are still open, I believe we will not manage to sign [the agreement] in October because internal approval procedures are rather lengthy,” Magauov said.

Kazakh Energy Minister Kanat Bozumbayev said that key principles had yet to be agreed.

Bozumbayev also said any deal between Kazakhstan and Belarus would face the same hurdles as the oil trade between Minsk and Moscow, with ties soured by Russia’s unwillingness to compensate for the impact of higher taxes.

Russia has for years effectively subsidized oil supplies to close political ally Belarus and plans to phase out those subsidies have angered the Minsk government, prompting it to look for alternative suppliers.

A row over the contamination of oil in Russian pipelines feeding into Belarussian ones has further complicated relations.