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

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    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.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    World Currencies

    EUR
    USD
    0.9105
    JPY
    USD
    106.21
    GBP
    USD
    0.7618
    CAD
    USD
    1.3171
    INR
    USD
    67.348

    Rates may not be current.