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    GAS CONTRACT WITH BELARUS TO BE SIGNED WITHIN TWO DAYS, SAYS TRANSNAFTA

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    MOSCOW, February 19, 2004. /RIA Novosti correspondent/ - A new agreement on gas supplies to Belarus may be signed on Thursday or Friday, head of TransNafta's gas arm Denis Vinogradov has announced.

    "The chances to sign an agreement are fairly high, it may be signed today or tomorrow," he said.

    "Belarus is anxious about the situation in the republic after Gazprom ceased gas supplies via its territory. It should do some thinking, as gas is not supplied, and fuel oil will not last long," Vinogradov pointed out.

    According to him, TransNafta is ready to resume gas deliveries to the republic if it pays off the current debt of $41.4 billion for gas supplies in January and February and signs a new gas agreement.

    The last contract on gas supplies to Belarus was signed between Beltransgaz and TransNafta on February 12. The contracted volume equaled 360 million cubic meters.

    On February 18th Russia ceased gas deliveries to Belarus as the previous contracts had expired and Beltransgaz was accused of unsanctioned siphoning of transit gas.

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