Belarus is ready to allow Russian businesses to buy its domestic refineries in privatizations in exchange for access to Russia’s oil and gas deposits, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said on Tuesday.
“We can give you factories and you [Russia] give us a possibility to extract this oil,” Lukashenko said at a press conference.
“Why do the Brits and Americans extract oil in Russia while why you don’t admit us there? [to oil and gas fields],” Lukashenko asked.
Belarus imports 12 billion cubic meters of Russian natural gas annually, but could itself produce 10 billion cu m at Russian gas fields, Lukashenko said.
“The same applies to oil. We’ll work better than your [Russian] companies do and you’ll never present claims to us for any oil spills or fires,” Lukashenko said.
Belarus owns the Naftan oil refinery in Novopolotsk and the Mozyr oil processing plant, which refined a total of 22 million tons of crude last year.
In July, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia would spend around $10 billion on building new refineries and improving existing ones.
"Over the next four years, will invest 300 billion rubles in construction of new refineries and petrochemical units, upgrade existing ones and improving the quality refined products," Putin said at a regional meeting of United Russia party.
Earlier this year, Russia's Energy Ministry blamed stoppages at several local refineries for planned repairs as one the main causes for a shortage of gasoline on the local retail market, including the Moscow refinery.