Belarus to See Gas-Price Hike Eased

Gazprom said over the weekend that Belarus would pay more for gas imports next year but that the price would be less than under a current agreement.

"The price for Belarus will be slightly lower than it should be in line with the original contract," Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov said Saturday on Ekho Moskvy radio. "It is important not only to set the price but also to get the money," he said, Interfax reported.

At the beginning of the 2009, Belarus will buy Russian gas at a higher price than now, but then it will go down following the declining oil price, Kupriyanov said. The price will also be declining "for all European partners, for the Baltic states, and for Moldova," he said.

Lukashenko and President Dmitry Medvedev reached an agreement when they met in Moscow on Dec. 22 that the price would "fall significantly", according to a Dec. 24 statement on Lukashenko's web site.

(MT, Bloomberg)