The contract, signed only two minutes before the New Year, ends a long dispute with Belarus over natural gas deliveries and comes in line with Gazprom's policy to bring gas prices for Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries up to the European level, taking into account the distance of deliveries.
"The price on natural gas [deliveries] will be $100 in cash per 1,000 cubic meters starting with the New Year and will be adjusted in the future according to a price formula in the contract," Alexei Miller said.
Earlier Gazprom proposed that Belarus pay $75 per 1,000 cubic meters in cash, plus $30 in shares of Beltransgaz, the former Soviet republic's gas pipeline operator, while it currently charges European customers over $250. The price would increase annually and reach the European level (and Russia's future domestic level), minus the transit cost and export duties, by 2011.
Miller added that the gradual increase in gas price for Belarus will reach the level of European prices by 2011.
Gazprom also agreed with Belarus to buy out 50% of Beltransgaz shares, worth $2.5 billion, within the next four years.