Russia’s Safmar Group can supply 250,000 tons more oil to Belarus in February 2020, aside from the 500,000 tons the group’s companies supplied in January, a source in the industry told TASS on Tuesday.
“Deliveries of Safmar companies are planned at the level of 250,000 tonnes,” the source said, referring to February plans.
Safmar, owned by billionaire Mikhail Gutseriyev, planned to supply 750,000 tons of oil to Belarus in January but the plan was reduced to 500,000 tons because the country started importing from third countries, including Norway.
Minsk and Moscow are currently negotiating deliveries of Russian hydrocarbons to Belarus. Presidents of the two countries, Alexander Lukashenko and Vladimir Putin, discussed the issue in a telephone conversation on December 30-31. Following the talks, Lukashenko requested concluding contracts with Russian companies on oil supplies in 2020 to ensure sustainable operation of two Belarusian refineries, though the documents were not signed by January 1. Meanwhile, Lukashenko tasked the management of the petrochemical complex with developing options of alternative supplies.
Belneftekhim said on January 3 that Russian oil was not supplied. Utilization of refineries was reduced to the minimum technologically allowed level. On January 4, one-off contracts on supplies of oil to Belarusian refineries were resumed. A source familiar with the talks told TASS earlier that the schedule of deliveries of Russian crude oil to Belarus was signed, with another 600,000 tons of oil planned to be supplied by the end of the month.
Meanwhile, Belarus is actively searching for alterative supplies. Particularly, the possibility of deliveries from Ukraine, Poland, the Baltic countries, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan is under consideration. On January 20, it became known that Belarus purchased 80,000 tons of oil from Norway.