Germany warns against dramatizing Russia-Belarus oil dispute

Jan 08, 2007 01:00 AM

Germany's economy minister, presiding over the EU council of energy ministers, warned against dramatizing the disruption of Russia's European oil supplies via Belarus.
Poland and Germany, which receive Russian oil via Belarus, said Russian oil supplies going through the Druzhba pipeline to European customers had been disrupted. Russia's pipeline monopoly Transneft blamed Belarus for blocking European exports.

Germany's Michael Glos said, "I am concerned about the closure of the important Druzhba pipeline. I expect supplies [via Belarus] to be resumed soon and in full."
Germany and Poland receive Russian oil from the northern leg of the Transneft-controlled Druzhba pipeline going via Belarusian territory. Russia doubled the gas price for Belarus to $ 100 per 1,000 cm from January 1, and also imposed an oil export duty of $ 180.7 per ton for the 10-mm nation. Belarus responded January 3 by introducing a transit duty of $ 45 per ton of Russian oil.

The German minister also welcomed the decision of EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs to convene a special group for oil to discuss the situation.
"As a country presiding over the European Union, Germany will do its best to prevent oil supply restrictions from disrupting deliveries to European companies and consumers," Glos said.

He called on Russia and Belarus to meet their obligations on oil supplies and transit.
"This incident shows once again that high reliability requires a balanced and mixed energy complex, which would avoid any unilateral dependence," Glos said, adding that it was the focus of the new energy policy pursued by the EU and expected to be discussed at the EU's summit in spring.

Glos said Germany, which imports 20 mm tons, or about one fifth of its annual crude needs, through Druzhba, had enough crude reserves to save the country from an energy crisis.
"At the moment, the situation for Germany is not tragic -- our oil refineries have sufficient crude reserves, which will guarantee us supplies even in the event of lengthy disruptions," he said.

Source: RIA Novosti
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