By Abdul Kerimkhanov
Azerbaijan has the technical potential to supply oil to Belarus, deputy head of the Public Relations and Event Management Department of the Azerbaijani State Oil Company (SOCAR) Ibrahim Ahmadov told local media on January 14.
"The Belarusian side has expressed its interest about the delivery of oil for its processing in Belarus. However, no decision has been made so far with this regard. In the past, we supplied oil to Belarus and there is potential for delivery,” Ahmadov noted.
He said that the Belarus is currently reviewing various opportunities available on the market, including supplies from SOCAR.
The economic cooperation between Azerbaijan and Belarus were also discussed during the meeting between Foreign Minister of Belarus Vladimir Makei and Azerbaijani Ambassador Latif Gandilov on January 15.
On January 14, First Deputy Prime Minister of Belarus Dmitry Krutoy said that Minsk had sent commercial offers on oil imports to Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Poland, Kazakhstan, and the Baltic countries.
"We've sent the relevant commercial offers. All the commercial departments of the refineries of Belarusian Oil Company conduct negotiations virtually every day. I think we will be able to secure alternative ways of delivering specific oil soon,” Dmitry Krutoi said. “All possible countries, including Ukraine, Poland, Baltic states, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan. We are working on it," Krutoy added.
Belarus leader Lukashenko has managed to convince Azerbaijan to join the Belarusian-Venezuelan oil deal through swap contracts. Thus, in place of direct deliveries from Venezuela, since 2011 Belarus has been receiving Azerbaijani oil.
In 2016, Belarus imported a total of 560,000 tones of Azerbaijani oil Azeri Light and CPC Blend, but these deliveries stopped in January 2017.
In November 2016, Ukrainian minister for regional development Hennadi Zubko reported that Ukraine would possibly be transporting Azerbaijani and Iranian oil to Belarusian refineries.
By buying oil from Iran and Azerbaijan, Minsk is reacting to the Kremlin's attempts to impose its own terms of economic cooperation and integration on Belarus.
On 23 April 2019, while commenting on opportunities of oil supply from Azerbaijan to Belarus, Azerbaijani Ambassador to Belarus Latif Gandilov told Belarusian media that Azerbaijan is ready to help Belarus in oil supply if it appeals.
Diplomatic relations between Azerbaijan and Belarus were established in 11 June 1993.
Cooperation in the economic sphere has been developing dynamically in the past decade.
Products of the machine engineering industry, petrochemistry, woodworking, pharmaceuticals, military-technical cooperation made up the main Belarusian export items to Azerbaijan. In turn, Azerbaijan mainly exports to Belarus petrochemicals, vegetables, fruits and other non-oil products.
Meanwhile, Belarus is interested in the North-South project and the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, and aims to create the Minsk-Baku railway route. Earlier, Belarusian Railways and Azerbaijan Railways signed an agreement on mutually beneficial cooperation for the interaction of the railways of the two countries to contribute to the development of the International North-South Transport Corridor.
Abdul Kerimkhanov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AbdulKerim94
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