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Belarus ready to sign new gas contract, documents on Beltransgaz sale with Russia 25 November

MINSK, 23 November (BelTA) - Belarus reaffirms its readiness to sign a new gas contract and documents for the sale of OAO Beltransgaz with Russia on 25 November during a session the Supreme State Council of the Union State in Moscow, First Deputy Prime Minister of Belarus Vladimir Semashko told reporters.

According to Vladimir Semashko, in fact on 25 November the sides will sign three major documents: the price agreements on gas supplies to Belarus in 2012, and on tariffs for the transit of gas through the territory of the country; documents for the sale of the 50% stake in Beltransgaz to the Russian side; the contract for the supply of gas for 2012-2014.

Vladimir Semashko stressed that the documents are beneficial for the two countries. It took a long time for the two sides to negotiate them. Actually the negotiations were held during the entire year. The last two months were the most intense period of the negotiations on the final wording of the documents. “All these documents passed through internal procedures, were coordinated with all our departments and agencies. There were some minor remarks. We settled them last week with the participation of the Energy Ministries of Belarus and Russia,” Vladimir Semashko said. The documents have been sent to the Presidential Administration. Russia also undertook some relevant measures to harmonize the documents.

Vladimir Semashko expressed confidence that these documents will be signed in Moscow on 25 November. “There is every reason to believe that the documents will be signed on 25 November,” he said.

When asked on what gas prices will be set for Belarus next year and whether the information of $150 per 1,000 cubic meters in the Russian media is true, Vladimir Semashko noted that the precise price will be announced later. He added that the price will be good for Belarus.

The official stated that Russia will buy a 50% stake in Beltransgaz for $2.5 billion. He mentioned that an independent estimation of Beltransgaz assets was conducted in 2006. Then the assets were appraised at $5 billion. The first stock of shares was sold to Russia for $2.5 billion. The second part costs the same.

The Supreme State Council of the Union State is expected to discuss other documents. Vladimir Semashko did not comment on them, noting only that they are due to be signed by the end of the year.