Aleksandr Suzdaltsev: “Oil situation can influence gas prices”
Prime Minister of Belarus Sergey Sidorsky announced this week in Gomel that Belarus counts on agreements with JSC “Gazprom” about keeping last year’s gas prices in 2010. Political analist Andrey SUZDALTSEV analyses the situation and talks to the reporter of www.Euramost.org.
We recon on this taking into account investment projects directed from Russia, - said Sergey Sidorsky. – If “Gazprom” is interested in our offer, the gas price will remain as in the previous year”. Belarus prepared these offers under instructions of the presidents of two the both countries at the session of Highest State Council in last year’s December. Today Belarus is waiting for the answer from the Russian side. The Prime-Minister noted that now Belarus gets gas uninterruptedly. Belarusian side provided in 2009 a complete payment for gas and keeps paying this year. Quoting the leader of Belarusian government, “Gazprom” holds to the terms of the original contract which involve providing Belarus with decreasing coefficient to an average European gas price 0,9 this year against 0,7 in 2009. “Taking into account decreasing of prices on cash markets, we consider it possible to apply 0,75 coefficient in 2010”, - said the Prime Minister. Sergey Sidorsky also specified that every year’s growth of decreasing coefficient to gas price is foreseen for Belarus by the agreement of gas supplies. But now the conditions and prices began to change, - says the political analyst. – Don’t forget that gas prices are connected with oil prices. There will be price movements, of course, but Belarusian authorities are worried mostly about the fact that oil prices vary from 70 to 80 dollars for a barrel, and don’t move from this diapason. It’s quite a high price and in one or two quarters it can influence gas prices. The second thing is that one must remember that there was not only oil conflict with Russia. This conflict was a system one, a conflict of ideology. Before Belarusian authorities used to wheedle grants basing on Union agreements, but now there is Customs Union. And it’s very profitable for Belarus. But the Russian authorities are also are in a rough mood, and everything can happen. If 100 percent export duty on exported form Russia oil products is introduced, sooner or later we can expect changes in gas duties. – Do you think the dispute is patched out? – Of course, it’s not. Now Belarusian authorities hurled all effort into finding any possibility to come round the Agreement about new conditions of oil deliveries, which was signed on January 27. It’s a traditional style and we know that. Wise persons thrash over variants for a new turn of the situation. I think that some ways out will be found. But we don’t speak about big money so everybody will stand for their own interests. Russia understands the situation in which Belarusian side is now very well, because years were passing by, grants were given, but Belarusian economics kept remaining unformed. Only what remained from the soviet period improved. But nothing changed principally. – Why does Russia have such a rough position now? It met halfway before… - You see, one must justify keeping such great credit-grant system, and Russian society is quite academically smart. So there is a reasonable question: “What do we spend billions of dollars for?” Moreover, it’s a political question and there are format relations with Georgia, the question of recognition of independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, participation in integration projects of European Union. All this influences the decisions. And in Russia not everybody is happy about the documents of January 27. They came to terms with Belarus anyway. – So, is there a chance that the gas price for Belarus will remain the same as in the last year? – There is always a chance, and it’s not unusual that Sidorsky makes some claims already now. Officials always talk like this, and sometimes it’s just to prevent panic. But I think that much will become clear after the meeting of Sergey Sidorsky and Vladimir Putin in March. Then we will be able to talk more precise.