MINSK, 30 June (BelTA) – U.S. oil has been shipped to Belarus not as a one-time event. The shipments will continue as part of a long-term program, BelTA learned from Belarusian Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei.
Vladimir Makei said that as Belarus looks for oil suppliers, the country primarily takes into account principles of economic advisability. “It is understandable that it is always necessary to take into consideration economy and buy things where they are cheaper,” he said. “But due to the bitter experience of various crises, including financial and economic ones, we've concluded that [oil shipment] diversification is a vital principle, part of our state policy.”
Vladimir Makei reminded about the head of state's instruction to secure the acquisition of about 30% of the necessary amount of oil from alternative sources. “The Belarusian state petrochemical concern Belneftekhim is working on it in tight cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other parties concerned. The shipment of American oil in early June was not a one-time event but part of a long-term program. In the same manner we intend to work hard on procuring hydrocarbon resources from other sources, including from the Middle East, other countries,” he remarked.
Asked to clarify when the next oil shipment from the USA will be delivered, Vladimir Makei said the schedule had been compiled by Belneftekhim. “Belarus needs it in order to avoid shocks in case of unforeseen circumstances relating to possible financial and economic crises. Which unfortunately happen regularly,” he added. “We should be ready and should be resilient to this kind of challenges.”
BelTA reported earlier that the first tanker carrying 77,000 tonnes of U.S. oil of the Bakken variety arrived in the Klaipeda port on 5 June. The crude oil was then shipped by rail to the Novopolotsk-based refinery OAO Naftan.
It was the 12th tanker shipment of oil Belarus had acquired from alternative sources this year. The total amount of oil delivered by tankers exceeded 1 million tonnes back then.
Belarusian Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei previously talked about the launch of oil shipments from the USA to Belarus. “It became possible as a result of the agreements reached during the visit of U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo to the Republic of Belarus on 1 February 2020and his meeting with Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko,” he noted. According to Vladimir Makei, shipments of American oil represent part of the government strategy on diversifying sources and ensuring the stable operation of the Belarusian oil refining industry in 2020 and years to come.
The deal to deliver the first batch of U.S. oil to Belarus was sealed with assistance of the American energy resources trading company United Energy Trading and with assistance of the U.S. company Getka and their Polish partner UNIMOT. Speaking about the deal, U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said that the deal “strengthens Belarusian sovereignty and independence, demonstrates that the United States is ready to deliver trade opportunities for American companies interested in entering the Belarusian market”.