Belarus and Russia have put in order oil cooperation and are preparing for the Customs Code to enter into force
Apart from the protocol session of the Union State Parliamentary Assembly held last weekend in Bryansk and Putin confirming the priority of interactions within the EEU for Russia while speaking about his decision to run for the presidency, Russo-Belarusian cooperation focused on local issues: oil, the Customs Code, agriculture, and so on without breakthrough solutions.
A week ago, Belarus and Russia agreed on an indicative oil supply to Belarus in 2018 at 24 million tons, of which 18 would be processed at the Belarussian refineries with subsequent export of petrochemicals, and 6 million tons would be exported without processing and Belarus would keep oil duties. Initially, additional terms to the agreement had not been disclosed, however, on December 8th, 2017, the chairman of the Belarusian state petrochemical concern said that a shipment of 72,000 tons of Belarusian petrochemicals would be sold through the Russian port of Ust-Luga. Judging by accompanying reports, these terms of shipment had been put forward rudely, similar to the inclusion of terms of counter supplies of petrochemicals to Russia: that is, at market prices and based on demand.
Staff reshuffles in the Belarusian oil sector indicate that Russian oil business is very actively engaged in the Belarusian state oil and gas business. For instance, last week media reported that the former head of the Gomelneftdruzhba oil pipeline resigned on November 28th and started work at Transneft. On December 7th, Puchilo, former deputy director of Beltransgaz, was appointed as the Director of the Belarusian Oil Company.
In other words, official and business cooperation between Belarus and Russia was good. However, both from Russia and Ukraine there were information attacks aiming to disrupt Belarusian-Ukrainian cooperation (it is difficult to assess to which extent they were due to the military situation and legitimate suspicion and to which they were inspired by Russian players). Fake news, stovepiping and alarming interpretations of ordinary events have not decreased in number. Obviously, Russia is extremely interested in leaving Belarus and Ukraine without mutual support.
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Situation in Belarus