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    ITERA GAS CO. WON'T CHARGE BELARUS MORE FOR MARCH SUPPLIES

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    MOSCOW, MARCH 6, 2004. (RIA NOVOSTI). The ITERA group has promised to resume natural gas supplies to Belarus in March, keeping the price at $46.68 per one thousand cubic meters, ITERA spokesman Yevgeny Ostapov told RIA Novosti.

    ITERA will be able to supply to Belarus as much as 500 million cubic meters of gas this month, Ostapov said. At the moment, Transnafta is the only Russian company to cooperate under short-term contracts with Belarus' Beltransgaz. On Thursday, the two companies struck a deal for the supply of 660 million cubic meters of gas before the month's end, Denis Vinogradov, in charge of Transnafta's gas unit, revealed to RIA.

    Gazprom Inc. suspended its gas exports to Belarus on December 31, 2003. Analysts predicted that March 2 would see Gazprom and Beltransgaz sign two new agreements on the supply and the transit of Russian gas, but neither deal is here yet, said Gazprom Vice-Chair Alexander Ryazanov.

    Gazprom has, however, reiterated its willingness to resume the supply of gas to Belarus in an annual amount of 10.2 billion cubic meters and at a price of about $50 per thousand cubic meters, Ryazanov reported.

    According to experts, Gazprom and Beltransgaz are unlikely to strike a deal on gas supplies in March as there are independent suppliers out there whose price for this month is lower than that set by Gazprom.

    The next round of talks between the Russian gas giant and Beltransgaz is scheduled for March 9, Gazprom officials announced.

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