News / Economy

Russia Threatens Belarus with Oil Supply Cuts

FILE - Vladislav Baumgertner, chief executive of the world’s largest producer of potash, Russia’s Uralkali, in Moscow, undated photo.
FILE - Vladislav Baumgertner, chief executive of the world’s largest producer of potash, Russia’s Uralkali, in Moscow, undated photo.
Reuters
Tension between Russia and Belarus rose on Thursday as Moscow warned oil supply cuts to its energy-poor neighbor could last for months, and Minsk threatened to open a criminal case against a Russian tycoon with Kremlin ties.
 
The close but often rocky relationship between the ex-Soviet states hit a major bump this week when Vladislav Baumgertner, the chief executive of potash company Uralkali, was arrested in Minsk.
 
On Wednesday, Russia ordered its oil companies to cut supplies to Belarus by about 25 percent, prompting talk of a trade war. Belarus relies entirely on Russian oil to keep its two major refineries running to supply the local market.
 
Russian pipeline monopoly Transneft said on Wednesday Russia would cut oil supplies to Belarus by 400,000 tons in September due to maintenance work at the trunk pipeline.
 
On Thursday, Russian news agencies quoted Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich as saying Belarus would receive reduced volumes of oil in the fourth quarter, indicating the cuts would carry on long past September.
 
"On the basis of planned oil deliveries for 2013 and on the volumes which already have been shipped, the cuts in oil supplies will surely affect the fourth quarter," the government press service cited Dvorkovich as saying, according to Interfax.
 
In Belarus, state investigators raised the prospect of also prosecuting billionaire Suleiman Kerimov, the top shareholder in Uralkali, which controls 20 percent of the world potash market.
 
"The materials that the Investigative Committee of Belarus possesses do not rule out the possibility of opening a criminal case in relation to Suleiman Kerimov, as well as other individuals," committee representative Pavel Traulko said.
 
An attempt to take on Kerimov, who was reported to be in Russia, would raise the stakes in the standoff, which unfolded following Uralkali's decision to break away from a marketing venture between the company and state-owned Belaruskali.
 
Kerimov, a 47-year-old native of the Caucasus province of Dagestan in southern Russia, has close ties to President Vladimir Putin's administration and completed a Kremlin-backed Russian potash merger in 2011.
 
The world market for potash has long been dominated by a handful of players led by the Belarusian Potash Co. (BPC), a marketing venture between Uralkali and Belaruskali.
 
BPC and Canpotex, which groups North American firms Potash Corp, Agrium and Mosaic, together have controlled 70 percent of sales.
 
But Uralkali quit the cartel on July 30, angered by a law passed in Belarus last year that allowed Belaruskali to sell product outside the marketing venture.
 
Belarus relies on Russia not only for energy but also for economic handouts and as a counterweight to the European Union and the United States, which shun President Alexander Lukashenko because of his treatment of opponents and lack of tolerance for dissent.
 
For Russia, landlocked Belarus serves as a buffer with NATO, and Putin needs it as a member of economic and security alliances as he seeks closer integration among the nations of the former Soviet Union.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.8143
JPY
USD
119.23
GBP
USD
0.6390
CAD
USD
1.1596
INR
USD
63.304

Rates may not be current.