Belarus is starting to import oil from the United States, Belarus Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei said on Friday, 15 May.
The deal is the result of the agreements reached between President Alexander Lukashenko and U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo during his visit to Minsk. “It is with satisfaction that I confirm the beginning of delivery of oil from the U.S. to Belarus,” the minister said.
Delivery of American oil is part of the state strategy to diversify sources (supply) and secure steady functioning of the oil processing complex of Belarus in 2020 and subsequent years.
The MFA sees cooperation with the U.S. in the oil sector to be a core element of energy security of the state, a crucial part of trade and investment engagement and a factor consolidating economic sovereignty of the country.
The Belarusian official stressed that Belarus is working with the U.S. side to further the bilateral economic ties. “Opportunities in trade and capital investment created by Minsk and Washington are beneficial for U.S. and Belarusian companies,” he said.
U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo on his part noted that the competitve deal “strengthens Belarusian sovereignty and independence, demonstrates that the U.S. is ready to deliver trade opportunities for American companies interested in entering the Belarusian market”.
First shipment – 80 thousand tonnes
Belarus has purchased 80 thousand tons of American Bakken oil, Belneftekhim spokesman Alexander Tishchenko told TUT.BY. He said that the tanker began loading on 14 May at the port of Beaumont in Texas.
“The departure from the port is scheduled for 17 May. The arrival in Klaipeda – in early June,” Tishchenko specified.
Alternative oil sources
Belarus began the search for alternative sources of oil supply in early 2020 due to a dispute with large Russian oil companies on the pricing mechanism. In particular, deliveries of tanker oil via Odessa and Klaipeda were arranged.
Minsk is exploring with Poland options for the supply of American and Saudi oil through the port in Gdansk and then by pipeline to Belarus. In the meantime, a tanker with oil from Saudi Arabia arrived at the port of Klaipeda on 11 May.
In late March, Minsk and Moscow agreed on pricing for the supply of Russian oil to Belarus after a three-month break. In April, the volume of oil imports from Russia amounted to about 1,5 million tons. In May, Belarus decided to purchase 1,1 million tons of crude oil from its neighbors.
In January-April, Belarusian refineries processed approximately 4,7 million tons of oil. Belarus received 2,5 million tons from Russia through the Druzhba pipeline. Plus, about 400 thousand tons were shipped by rail.
Deliveries of tanker oil amounted to about 800 thousand tons. The country also refined its own raw materials, 2019 oil reserves and crude oil linefill. On 1 February, US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said that the U.S. will provide Belarus 100% of oil at competitive prices