Azerbaijan, Baku, June 11 / Trend , E.Ismayilov/
Belarus plays an important role in ensuring Europe's energy security and over 50 billion cubic meters of gas and 60 million tons of oil is transported via its territory each year, Deputy Chief of the Information-Analytical Department of the State Secretariat of the Belarusian Security Council Konstantin Burak said.
"The reliability of the Belarusian energy supply route to Europe was repeatedly proved. Moreover, the uninterrupted transit of additional volumes of gas to the EU was provided without a signed contract in the well-known situation in early 2009 [the gas conflict between Ukraine and Russia," Burak said at the conference on "Energu Security: challenges and opportunities" organized by the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry and NATO in Baku.
Burak said the country's transit potential is not fully used and its further development meets not only the interests of Belarus, but also the interests of the entire region. Thus, according to expert estimates, the construction of additional branches of Yamal-Europe gas pipeline through the territory of Poland and Belarus is much cheaper and technically easier than the North European gas pipeline projects and South Stream. Regarding that the part of the infrastructure already exists, this project can be implemented within two years. The project can increase the pumping of gas to Europe through Belarus to 30 billion cubic meters.
Experts are discussing the opportunity to build bridges between the northern and southern branches of the Friendship pipeline to transport oil between the ports of the Black and Baltic seas. This would enhance the commercial attractiveness of this route to transport oil not only in Poland but also in Lithuania and Latvia, Burak said.
Energy security will enable not only Belarus, but also other neighboring countries to form additional gas-holding in their territories. At present relevant work is being conducted in this direction. The project aims to improve the capacity of underground gas storage facilities from the current 660 million cubic meters to 2 billion cubic meters, with a view to further increase to 4.5 billion cubic meters by 2020. The increase in active power storage will allow having two or three gas reserves.
The realization of these projects by 2020 will require an investment about 19 billion dollars, and now the Ministry of Energy of Belarus is considering various funding models.
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