Belarus has reached an agreement with Russia for limited oil supplies after Moscow has halted supplying crude earlier this week amid indefinitely prolonged talks on reinforcing economic ties between the neighbouring countries, AFP reported on January 4th.
Vladimir Sizov, vice president at energy firm Belneftekhim, stated in a Belta news agency report, "At 1705 (1405 GMT) today, the pumping units were turned on and deliveries of oil to the Naftan refinery began."
According to a statement released by Belneftekhim, the oil would arrive at a discounted price while talks for resuming regular imports continue. The firm is currently nearing a deal with Russian companies to assure that refineries in the country would operate normally again, the statement added; however, the terms of the contract were not stated.
This is the second time that the two countries have been trying to resolve differences over oil supplies. In 2010, oil shipments from Russia to Belarus were restarted again after Moscow had discontinued supplies over a price dispute. The supply halt had given rise to western European worries, according to Deutsche Welle.
The two countries have been undergoing energy disputes, which in turn has jeopardised their bilateral ties, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said, harbouring a series of calls with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to arrive at a new deal by the January 1st deadline.
This is considered a life-line for the Belarusian economy, which imports 24 million tons of oil from Russia every year, reserving only six million for its own needs while the rest is exported to Europe, AFP reported.