Belarus Introduces Duties on Transit Oil after Spat with Russia

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has signed a decree introducing an environmental tax on the transit of oil and oil products through the country, the presidential press service said on Friday, according to

“For the purpose of forming a source of funds for response to potential environmental after-effects in case of an accident at a main oil pipeline or other contingencies related to movement of oil and oil products over the territory of Belarus, an income tax rate of 50% has been set for entities performing transportation of oil and oil products,” the press service said.

Transit transportation of oil and oil products through main pipelines over the territory of Belarus is also recognized as the taxation object, the statement added.

Russia’s Safmar group of companies, controlled by tycoon Mikhail Gutseriyev’s family, said on Thursday its annual oil production volumes were enough to supply both the Russian domestic oil market and Belarus.

In a statement to Reuters, Safmar, which includes Russneft and Neftisa among its oil assets, said its annual oil production of 18 million tonnes allowed it to supply markets at home and Belarus in the “full amount according to a schedule approved by the Russian Energy Ministry”.

Belarus has reached an agreement with Russia for limited oil supplies after Moscow stopped supplying crude on January 1 amid stalled talks on strengthening economic ties between the neighboring countries. Belarusian state-run oil company Belneftekhim said on 4 January that the country’s refineries started receiving the first batch of crude oil, sufficient to ensure “non-stop operation of the country’s refineries in January 2020.”

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