Russia scales back cut in oil supplies to Belarus for 2nd time
MOSCOW, Sept 24
MOSCOW, Sept 24 (Reuters) - Moscow for a second time has scaled back its threatened cuts in oil supplies to Belarus amid a row over the arrest of a Russian potash executive, agreeing to restore some volumes that it had planned to divert elsewhere.
Russia will increase oil supplies to Belarus by 95,000 tonnes in the last week of September, although total volumes for the month will still be down from the original plan, a spokesman for oil pipeline monopoly Transneft said on Tuesday.
He said Russia was sticking to its plan to cut oil supplies to Belarus in the fourth quarter by 42 percent to 3.1 million tonnes. Transneft does not give a breakdown of monthly volumes.
After Vladislav Baumgertner, the chief executive of potash producer Uralkali, was arrested in Minsk last month, Russia at first said it would cut oil supplies to Belarus by 400,000 tonnes in September due to pipeline repairs. Baumgertner still remains behind bars.
Afterwards, Russia said the cuts would be less, at 233,000 tonnes. On Tuesday, the Transneft spokesman said an additional 95,000 tonnes would be shipped to Belarus by the end of the month.
"We managed to increase the supplies thanks to optimisation of the repair work and using an alternative route," Igor Dyomin said.
A market source said that Lukoil, Gazprom Neft and Surgutneftegas will share the extra shipments to Belarus, which are not subject to export duty due to a common Moscow-led customs union.
The news came after Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Belarussian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko discussed the dispute over Uralkali on Monday. (Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Douglas Busvine and Jane Baird)
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