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Belarus, Gazprom agree on reduced gas price for 2012 - Lukashenko

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Belarus will receive Russian gas in 2012 for a significantly reduced price, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said on Friday.

Belarus will receive Russian gas in 2012 for a significantly reduced price, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said on Friday.

Lukashenko, who met last week with Alexei Miller, the CEO of Russian gas giant, Gazprom, said that next year Belarus would buy Russian gas for a lower price but did not specify the amount of the new gas price.

The gas pricing formula is a major concern for Belarus, which currently buys Russian gas for $286 per 1,000 cubic meters.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said this summer that Russia would introduce "an integrative decrease adjustment into the gas pricing formula" for Belarus from 2012, but added that it should be accompanied by Gazprom's acquisition of the Belarusian government's 50% stake in Beltransgaz.

Gazprom had already bought a half of Belarusian gas giant in 2007.

Minsk is ready to sell the remaining Beltransgaz's half on condition that the pipeline would be fully filled up with gas in order "to have transit payments," Lukashenko said.

Belarusian leader has also reiterated his stance on the equal prices both for Belarus and Russia, citing a membership in the Customs Union and the Common Market that is due to start operating on January, 1 in 2012.

Gazprom's four-year contract with Belarus, under which the ex-Soviet republic pays for natural gas at a considerable discount to European gas prices, expires on December 31.

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