Posted by: russiaoilandgas | July 26, 2007

Belarus Oil and Gas Chiefs Get Chopped, Can’t Afford Gazprom Half Million Dollar Gazprom Debt

Lukashenko Putin Gazprom Belarus Oil Gas Crisis DebtBelarus President Alexander Lukashenko has fired the heads of the country’s oil and gas companies for failing to avert the seismic shock affects caused by Gazprom’s decision last year to suddenly double gas prices.  The office of the Belarusian president announced the decision as his representatives held crisis talks at Gazprom to negotiate with the Russian gas monopoly over a half billion dollar gas debt which Belarus has missed the deadline to pay.  Oil and Gas Eurasia’s Sergei Balashov reports.

After Belarus missed the deadline to pay off its half billion debt to Gazprom Monday the sides met on Tuesday to discuss the possible solutions for the impasse. Yet, Belorussian Energy Minister Alexander Ozerets who arrived in Moscow to participate in the talks and the Gazprom Management Committee failed to reach an agreement after Belarus asked for more time to make the due payments.

Gazprom HQ Headquarters Moscow Belarus NEgotiations Gas Debt 500 Million DollarsThe two issues negotiated during the meetings were the amount of time Gazprom was willing to give Belarus to pay off its gas debt, which has already reached $500 million, and the amount of fine for missing the deadline. Gazprom’s delegation will fly to Minsk on Wednesday to continue negotiations with Belorussian officials.

“We are asking for an extension; obviously we will have to pay a penalty that we are discussing at the moment,” commented Alexander Ozerets, as quoted by Italian news agency AGI. Prime Minister Sergei Sidorsky reportedly plans to fly to Moscow news week to settle the debt issue himself.

The negotiations between Belarusian officials and Gazprom Management Committee were preceded by a series of firings of the heads of Belarus’ leading oil and gas companies for their failure to respond to the hike in energy prices carried out by President Alexander Lukashenko.

Belarus’ skyrocketing debt stems from … Read the full story by clicking here.  ( )


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