Belarusian vice premier arrives in Moscow for oil talks
(RIA Novosti) - Belarusian Vice Premier Andrei Kobyakov has arrived in Moscow for talks on oil transit across the territory of Russia's western neighbor, the Belarusian Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.
Poland and Germany, which receive Russian oil via Belarus, said Monday Russian oil supplies going through the Druzhba pipeline to European customers had been disrupted. Russia's pipeline monopoly Transneft blamed Belarus for blocking European exports.
Russia doubled the gas price for Belarus to $100 per 1,000 cubic meters from January 1, and also imposed an oil export duty of $180.7 per metric ton for the nation of 10 million. Belarus responded January 3 by imposing a punitive oil transit levy of $45 per metric ton.
Transneft said Monday it was forced to halt crude supplies via its western neighbor because Belarus had been siphoning off Russian oil designated for Europe from the Druzhba pipeline, reports Trend.
"Beginning January 6, Belarus unilaterally and without warning started tapping oil destined for Western European customers from the Druzhba pipeline," Semyon Vainshtok, the head of Transneft, said, adding that Russia's western neighbor had since then siphoned off 79,000 metric tons of oil.