January 10, 2020 / 11:08 AM / 10 days ago

Belarus halts own oil exports to Germany, Russian oil transit unaffected - sources

MOSCOW, Jan 10 (Reuters) - Belarus’ state oil company Belorusneft has suspended supplies of its own oil to Germany this month as Minsk needs to compensate for shortages of Russia-sourced oil amid a contract dispute with Moscow, four industry sources told Reuters on Friday.

Russia suspended oil supplies to Belarus on Jan. 1 in relation to a dispute over supply contract terms between Moscow and Minsk. Two Russian firms, Russneft and Neftisa, restored some supplies late on Jan. 4.

Belorusneft’s decision to suspend oil flows to Germany shows the challenges Minsk is facing while trying to negotiate the new oil supply deal with Russia. Moscow and Minsk have had several oil and gas spats over the past decade.

The Belorusneft supplies are separate from Russian oil transit to Europe via the Druzhba pipeline, part of which comes via Belarus and which so far has not been affected.

Belorusneft supplies more than 100,000 tonnes per month of its crude oil to PCK Raffinerie GmbH in the north east of Germany. The refinery is majority owned by Rosneft (54.17%). Royal Dutch Shell has 37.5% in the plant, while Italian Eni owns 8.33%.

Belorusneft and Rosneft did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for a comment. PCK’s spokeswoman Vica Fajnor did not respond to Reuters’ calls on Friday.

Rosneft has said it is the third largest oil refining company on the German market with a total crude oil refining capacity of up to 12.5 million tonnes per year, representing more than 12% of Germany’s capacity.

Belorusneft supplies are a tenth of the refinery’s needs. Russian oil firms Russneft and Neftisa, part of tycoon Mikhail Gutseriyev’s business, restored supplies to Belarus on Jan. 4 - the only Russian companies to do so.

Other Russian companies are continuing to work on new supply contract terms with state-run Belneftekhim, which controls Belarus’ two refineries.

Last year, Belorusneft awarded a tender for 1.66 million tonnes of Urals for delivery along the Druzhba pipeline in 2020 to Rosneft unit Rosneft Trading, according to trade sources.

Europe receives around 10% of its oil via the Druzhba pipeline, which can supply more than 1 million barrels per day to countries including Germany, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and the Czech Republic.

Reporting Gleb Gorodyankin Additional reporting by Olesya Astakhova Editing by Katya Golubkova and Jane Merriman

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