Prime Minister of Belarus Roman Golovchenko said in an interview with the Belarus 1 TV channel that the U.S. sanctions did not affect the supply of Russian oil to refineries in Mozyr and Novopolotsk.
“All contracts have been signed. Oil is supplied in accordance with the terms of these contracts. The situation is absolutely routine and normal,” said Golovchenko, responding to a question about a possible suspension of supplies of Russian raw materials to Belarusian oil refineries.
On 27 April, Reuters reported that a number of Russian oil companies may refuse to supply oil to the Novopolotsk Naftan, fearing the consequences of the U.S. sanctions. The U.S. has imposed sanctions against Belarusian state-owned companies and officials since 2006 for violations of human rights in the country. Since 2015, the U.S. has granted sanctioned businesses a license to operate, which has been renewed annually.
On 19 April, the U.S. replaced its current 2G license with 2H, which recommends that counterparties of any of the nine companies that are subject to sanctions complete any transactions with them by 3 June. The blacklist includes Naftan, Belneftekhim, Belneftekhim USA, Belarusian Oil Trading House, Belshina, Grodno Azot, Grodno Khimvolokno, Lakokraska, Polotsk Steklovolokno.
According to Golovchenko, sanctions for working with these companies apply to individuals and legal entities of the U.S., as well as companies in which the U.S. (U.S. citizens or legal entities) owns a controlling stake. “We do not buy oil from the United States, but from our partner, the Russian Federation,” he said.
In January-April 2021, Russian oil companies increased oil supplies to Belarus by 95.7% to 4.92 million tons. This growth is explained by the fact that in the first quarter of 2020, only Mikhail Gutseriev‘s companies supplied raw materials to refineries in Novopolotsk and Mozyr.