Belarus Says More Azeri, Russian Oil Supplies Coming Soon

MINSK (Reuters) — Belarusian state energy company Belneftekhim has signed a contract with Azerbaijan's SOCAR to receive two cargoes of oil totaling 160,000 tonnes, it said on Wednesday.

Belarus and Russia have been at loggerheads since Jan. 1, when they failed to agree on oil delivery terms for 2020 and major Russian oil companies suspended pipeline oil supplies to Belarus.

SOCAR was quoted as saying by RIA news agency it would send one oil cargo to Belarus soon, while another one is still being discussed.

Safmar Group companies, Russneft and Neftisa, have been the only suppliers of Russian oil to Belarus, forcing Minsk to look for crude from other countries since the start of 2020.

In March, five new Russian companies will join Safmar and start supplying oil to Belarus without a price premium, Belneftekhim said.

"These are the new players, who have never worked in the Belarusian market before," Belneftekhim spokesman Alexander Tishchenko told Reuters. He did not give their names or the amount of upcoming supplies.

Russia proposed new terms for future oil supplies to Belarus earlier this week, in a sign of potential progress in the two-month row between the two countries.

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