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Russia, Belarus again fail to agree oil deal - Belarusian source

© RIA Novosti . Игорь Зарембо / Go to the photo bankКомплексный нефтяной терминал
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Officials from Russia and Belarus held a second day of talks on Thursday to try to resolve the dispute over 2010 oil deliveries, but again failed to reach an agreement, the Belarusian government news agency Belta reported.

Officials from Russia and Belarus held a second day of talks on Thursday to try to resolve the dispute over 2010 oil deliveries, but again failed to reach an agreement, the Belarusian government news agency Belta reported.

A source in Minsk's delegation said the sides had agreed to take a break from discussions to allow for "further consultations."

The dispute between Moscow and Minsk has raised fears in Germany and Poland that supplies may be affected, as they were during a similar dispute in 2007, but so far there has been no disruptions to oil transit via Belarus, and deliveries are occurring to both Belarus's oil refineries.

Belarus benefited from significant discounts on Russian oil imports in 2009, and is again seeking preferential treatment this year. Russia says it is willing to eliminate all duties on oil supplied to Belarus for domestic consumption, but wants oil bound for European markets to be subject to duty.

An earlier set of talks ended on New Year's Eve without agreement, picking up again on Wednesday. Russia has warned Belarus that it will have to pay full duty on all oil delivered while no agreement is in place.

"Belarusian negotiators were ready for a reasonable compromise, but Russia's side stuck to its previous position, which greatly complicated the negotiations," the source said.

On Tuesday Belarus has lowered its crude oil export duty from $271 to $267 per metric ton from January 1.

Russia exported around 25 million tons of oil to Belarus last year, but only 5-6 million tons were for domestic consumption. The rest was re-exported, some after passing through one of the country's two oil refineries.

 

MINSK, January 7 (RIA Novosti)

 

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