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Share Facebook Twitter Google + Linkedin Reddit Premium Content Sanctioned Belarus Moves Closer To Russia As Crisis Continues By Viktor Katona – Oct 17, 2020, 4:00 PM CDT Join Our Community Belarus is slowly entering the third month of consecutive protests and there is very little indication that either of the sides is ready to let go. President Lukashenko continues to disperse protesters with water cannons whilst gradually booting out all foreign reporters who might present a different picture than that of a Manichean struggle between the forces of law and order and hell-bent troublemakers. Amidst the manifold incarcerations and convictions, the opportunities for a negotiated solution are becoming slimmer by the day. Ironically for President Lukashenko, the international pressure on him to step down has compelled him to get back to his traditional trading partner, Russia.  In the meantime, Belarus has sunk to the reality of it being sanctioned by the European Union. EU leaders have managed to persuade Cyprus which had resisted any calls to sanction Minsk (Cyprus was obstructing the Belorussian vote as a means of focusing more attention on its travails with Turkey’s illegal drilling programs) and have levied restrictive measures on 40 Belorussian officials with one major exception granted – President Lukashenko was not included. The fact that the list is overwhelmingly composed of Interior Ministry cadres only underscores the awkwardness with which Brussels endeavors to pressurize the long-standing Belorussian leader into relinquishing his position. The US sanctions list is even thinner than the European one, combining a total of 7 persons, however Washington has had Lukashenko on sanctions since 2006. 

Political pressure mounting on Lukashenko has pushed the besieged Belorussian president closer to Moscow. One of the recurring themes of Russo-Belorussian energy talks, the price negotiations on the upcoming years’ natural gas imports, went much easier this year – by early September the two sides have already indicated their preliminary agreement on the conditions of the agreement. Before the elections President Lukashenko was stating that Minsk might ask for 40-45 USD per MMCm (its agreed 2019 price was set at 132 USD per MMCm), nowadays Belorussian officials no longer state their ideal pricing level be set that low. Moreover, Minsk now seems to be open to embrace the 2022 startup of the Eurasian Economic Union common gas market rules

Home Oil Prices Rig Count Energy Energy-General Oil Prices Crude Oil Heating Oil Gas Prices Natural Gas Coal Company News Interviews Alternative Energy Nuclear Power Solar Energy Hydroelectric Renewable Energy Geothermal Energy Wind Power Fuel Cells Tidal Energy Biofuels Environment Global Warming Oil Spills Geopolitics Africa Asia Europe Indonesia International Middle East North America South America Finance the Economy the Markets Investing & Trading Reports Commodities Gold Silver Breaking News Premium Articles Community My Account Latest Discussions Energy General Oil Stocks & Prices Other Energy Topics All Prices OPEC Blends Canadian Blends U.S. Blends WTI Crude • 23 hours 40.88 -0.08 -0.20% Brent Crude • 20 hours 42.93 -0.23 -0.53% Natural Gas • 23 hours 2.773 -0.002 -0.07% Mars US • 23 hours 41.23 -0.23 -0.55% Opec Basket • 3 days 41.29 +0.09 +0.22% Urals • 2 days 39.60 +0.00 +0.00% Louisiana Light • 3 days 42.39 +0.23 +0.55% Louisiana Light • 3 days 42.39 +0.23 +0.55% Bonny Light • 2 days 41.96 +0.47 +1.13% Mexican Basket • 3 days 38.01 -0.04 -0.11% Natural Gas • 23 hours 2.773 -0.002 -0.07% Click Here for 150+ Global Oil Prices Click Here for 150+ Global Oil Prices

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Marine • 2 days 41.82 -0.14 -0.33% Murban • 2 days 42.78 -0.02 -0.05% Iran Heavy • 2 days 40.28 +0.53 +1.33% Basra Light • 2 days 44.25 +0.20 +0.45% Saharan Blend • 2 days 41.94 +0.55 +1.33% Bonny Light • 2 days 41.96 +0.47 +1.13% Bonny Light • 2 days 41.96 +0.47 +1.13% Girassol • 2 days 43.05 +0.62 +1.46% Opec Basket • 3 days 41.29 +0.09 +0.22% OPEC Members Monthly Click Here for 150+ Global Oil Prices Click Here for 150+ Global Oil Prices

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Canadian Crude Index • 29 days 29.41 -0.26 -0.88% Western Canadian Select • 22 hours 32.14 +0.40 +1.26% Canadian Condensate • 2 days 40.24 -0.10 -0.25% Premium Synthetic • 2 days 41.64 -0.10 -0.24% Sweet Crude • 22 hours 37.84 -1.70 -4.30% Peace Sour • 22 hours 37.24 -0.10 -0.27% Peace Sour • 22 hours 37.24 -0.10 -0.27% Light Sour Blend • 22 hours 37.74 -0.10 -0.26% Syncrude Sweet Premium • 22 hours 37.84 -0.65 -1.69% Central Alberta • 22 hours 37.64 -0.10 -0.26% Click Here for 150+ Global Oil Prices Click Here for 150+ Global Oil Prices

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Louisiana Light • 3 days 42.39 +0.23 +0.55% Domestic Swt. @ Cushing • 2 days 37.50 +0.00 +0.00% Giddings • 2 days 31.25 +0.00 +0.00% ANS West Coast • 5 days 41.35 +0.86 +2.12% West Texas Sour • 2 days 34.11 -0.80 -2.29% Eagle Ford • 2 days 38.06 -0.80 -2.06% Eagle Ford • 2 days 38.06 -0.80 -2.06% Oklahoma Sweet • 2 days 37.50 +0.00 +0.00% Kansas Common • 3 days 31.25 +0.00 +0.00% Buena Vista • 3 days 44.04 -0.08 -0.18% Click Here for 150+ Global Oil Prices Click Here for 150+ Global Oil Prices

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1D 1M 3M 1Y All Charts Discussion Headlines 23 hours Schlumberger Books Third Loss This Year As Oil Crisis Bites 1 day Dakota Access Oil Pipeline Clears Hurdle To Doubling Capacity 1 day Argentina Looks To Attract $5B Investment To Boost Shale Gas Production 1 day Canada Government Invests In Mini Nuclear Reactors 1 day Libya’s Oil Production Jumps To 500,000 Bpd After Biggest Field Restarts 1 day South Sudan Oil Output Drops 2 days Alberta To Restart Oil Lease Sales Despite Crisis 2 days Philippines Lifts Ban On Oil Exploration In South China Sea 2 days Nigerian State Oil Firm Says It Slashed Losses In Rare Financial Release 2 days OPEC Chief Assures Markets That Oil Prices Won’t Crash Again 2 days Russian Oil Companies Plan Significant Drilling Cuts For 2021 3 days Bigger Than Expected Crude Inventory Draw Boosts Oil Prices 3 days EU May Set Binding Standards For Methane Emissions 3 days China’s New Refineries Are Embarking On A Crude Buying Spree 3 days Norway’s Serious Oil, Gas Incidents Surge During Pandemic 3 days Turkey Resumes Oil, Gas Survey In Eastern Mediterranean 3 days Indian Fuel Demand Bounces Back Ahead Of Festive Season 4 days U.S. Shale Production Set To Drop Next Month 4 days Saudi Aramco Discusses $10 Billion Pipeline Sale 4 days Iraq Discusses Gas Investment At Its Largest Oilfield With BP 4 days UAE Says OPEC+ Set To Ease Oil Production Cuts As Planned 4 days Iraq Proposes New Jointly Managed Oil Company For Kurdistan 4 days Investment Funds Representing $20 Trillion In Assets Urge Carbon Cuts 4 days China Books 12.7% Rise In Oil Imports Jan-Sept 5 days Oil Prices Sink Ahead Of Industry Reports 5 days Electric Vehicle Market Hits New Milestone 5 days India’s Diesel Demand Struggles To Recover 5 days Gazprom Expects Gas Glut In Europe Will Continue In 2021 5 days EU Targets Emission Savings From Buildings 5 days OPEC’s No.2 Expects Another Weak Quarter Of Oil Prices 8 days Turkey’s Black Sea Gas Discovery May Be Bigger Than Thought 8 days Norway’s Oil Strike Could End As Soon As Friday 8 days Air Travel Collapse Makes Oil Hedges More Expensive 8 days Pemex Issues $1.5-Bln Bond To Refinance Massive Debt 8 days More Than 90% Of Gulf Of Mexico Oil Production Shut In As Hurricane Approaches 9 days Norway’s Oil & Gas Strikes Could Take 25% Of Production Offline 9 days Venezuela Restarts Crude Blending Operations As Upgraders Return Online 9 days Church Of England Dumps All ExxonMobil Stock 9 days Libya’s Central Banks Wants To Lift Oil Output To 1.7 Million Bpd 9 days Shell Shuts All 9 Of Its Gulf Of Mexico Oil Platforms Ahead Of Hurricane 23 hours Retail On Pace For Most Bankruptcies And Store Closures Ever In One Year: BDO 10 minutes America Could Go Fully Electric Right Now 21 hours Majors Oil COs diversify into Renewables ? What synergies forget have with Solar Panels and Wind Tirbines ? None ! 12 hours Something wicked this way comes 19 hours Vote Biden for Higher Oil Prices 3 hours “COVID Kills Another Oil Rally” by Tom Kool 10/16/2020 20 hours Tucker Carlson responds to CDC after agency critiques commentary about mask-wearing 1 day Dead Cow: Argentina Shale: Argentina wants $5 bln investment to boost Vaca Muerta production 2 hours covid. stop the carriers and thus stop the virus. 2 days Google is Evil – Jeremy Kauffman Introduces LBRY and Odysee 2 days Police Scotland Buys 180 Hyundai Kona Electrics 2 days . 3 days . Breaking News: Schlumberger Books Third Loss This Year As Oil Crisis Bites

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Share Facebook Twitter Google + Linkedin Reddit Premium Content Sanctioned Belarus Moves Closer To Russia As Crisis Continues By Viktor Katona – Oct 17, 2020, 4:00 PM CDT Join Our Community Belarus is slowly entering the third month of consecutive protests and there is very little indication that either of the sides is ready to let go. President Lukashenko continues to disperse protesters with water cannons whilst gradually booting out all foreign reporters who might present a different picture than that of a Manichean struggle between the forces of law and order and hell-bent troublemakers. Amidst the manifold incarcerations and convictions, the opportunities for a negotiated solution are becoming slimmer by the day. Ironically for President Lukashenko, the international pressure on him to step down has compelled him to get back to his traditional trading partner, Russia.  In the meantime, Belarus has sunk to the reality of it being sanctioned by the European Union. EU leaders have managed to persuade Cyprus which had resisted any calls to sanction Minsk (Cyprus was obstructing the Belorussian vote as a means of focusing more attention on its travails with Turkey’s illegal drilling programs) and have levied restrictive measures on 40 Belorussian officials with one major exception granted – President Lukashenko was not included. The fact that the list is overwhelmingly composed of Interior Ministry cadres only underscores the awkwardness with which Brussels endeavors to pressurize the long-standing Belorussian leader into relinquishing his position. The US sanctions list is even thinner than the European one, combining a total of 7 persons, however Washington has had Lukashenko on sanctions since 2006. 

Political pressure mounting on Lukashenko has pushed the besieged Belorussian president closer to Moscow. One of the recurring themes of Russo-Belorussian energy talks, the price negotiations on the upcoming years’ natural gas imports, went much easier this year – by early September the two sides have already indicated their preliminary agreement on the conditions of the agreement. Before the elections President Lukashenko was stating that Minsk might ask for 40-45 USD per MMCm (its agreed 2019 price was set at 132 USD per MMCm), nowadays Belorussian officials no longer state their ideal pricing level be set that low. Moreover, Minsk now seems to be open to embrace the 2022 startup of the Eurasian Economic Union common gas market rules.

Related: China’s Oil Imports Are Falling

It remains to be seen what exactly Minsk and Moscow could agree on with regard to the former’s crude imports. The crux of the disagreement has been the fixed discount to the average Urals monthly price which the Belarussian side sees as high as 12 USD per metric ton (i.e. 1.65 USD per barrel). As the Belorussian state oil company Belneftekhim failed to find common ground with Russian crude exporters, all of whom had no interest in maintaining a subsidized form of oil deliveries and wanted to squeeze as much as possible from Russia’s never-ending tax reform, Q1 2020 witnessed unprecedented lows in pipeline imports. This in turn has nudged Belarus to reenergize its seaborne deliveries, buying Urals lookalikes from all over the European continent. 

In the end Moscow and Minsk have agreed on a 10.70 USD per metric ton (1.45 USD per barrel) discount which would be valid for the remaining part of 2020. Running contrary to the previous trend of starting the talks quite late in the year, the 2021 price discount negotiations have already started in September, most probably due to Belarus’ willingness to avoid another supply intervention from the Russian side akin to what happened this year. This does not mean that Belneftekhim’s demands are in any way more constructive than those of 2020 – for the first bilateral meeting it has indicated 15.50 USD per metric ton price discount, 0.7 USD per barrel higher than what it had this year. Considering that the survival of the Belarussian Lukashenko regime lies primarily through the Kremlin, this seems a rather ambitious move now. 

All of the above have necessitated an attenuation of Belarus’ opportunistic crude sourcing policy that has raised some eyebrows in Moscow over the course of 2020. Merely a couple of months ago President Lukashenko publicly vowed to increase Belarus’ intake of US crudes and even took in 2 cargoes (Bakken and a custom-made blend called White Eagle Blend), that is nowhere to be seen today, economic profitability or refining suitability notwithstanding. Judging by maritime movements in the Black and Baltic Seas, the last seaborne cargo that Belorussian refiners have imported was an Azeri cargo that discharged early September in the Ukrainian port of Odessa. The increasing trend in Russian pipeline crude deliveries to Belarus, however, points to things settling back to the pre-2020 state of things.

Related: A Biden Presidency Could End The U.S. Oil Boom

Graph 1. Belarus’ Monthly Russian Crude Imports in 2020.

Source: data compiled by author.

According to the latest Belneftekhim utterances, the amount of Russian crude that Belarus will export in October 2020 stands around 1.65 million tons (see Graph 1). That is the highest monthly allocation this year has seen yet even a solid year-end of 2020 would not be enough to cover up for the gaping hole in the first couple of months. As things stand currently, Russian crude exports to Belarus have dropped 34% compared to 2019. On the other hand, the current Belorussian political leadership can provide other deal sweeteners to Russia that would satiate its boundless energy appetite – for instance, rerouting all of its products exports from Baltic ports to the Russian port of Ust-Luga

That this would happen should not surprise Russia-watchers, Moscow itself has invested quite the effort into eliminating its own usage of non-Russian Baltic ports and to facilitate the usage of Ust-Luga and Primorsk (in 2019 the aggregate volume of Russian exports from the Baltic states stood at 1.4 million tons, 90% down from the 2015-2016 level). By signing up for the supply route diversion, Lukashenko will simultaneously deliver a political message to Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia for sanctioning him and his close circle personally, drying up perhaps the last genuinely profitable revenue stream for the Baltic countries’ ports. The successful rerouting will take time though – as there is no direct pipeline connection to Ust-Luga or Vysotsk, the scheme’s profitability depends on the Russian Railways’ rail tariff which might need further discounting if it wants to stay competitive. 

By Viktor Katona for Oilprice.com

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