Aleksandr Lukashenko meets with Gazprom Chairman of the Board Alexei Miller

    President of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that Belarus-Gazprom cooperation has reached a brand-new level. The head of state made the statement at the meeting held on 22 November with Gazprom Chairman of the Board Alexei Miller.

    “I am very pleased that we no longer have to start a new year without an agreement on volumes or natural gas prices. I think we don’t see acute problems like that anymore,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

    “Contrariwise, we see only plans for the future and great plans at that,” confirmed Alexei Miller.

    According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, Belarus-Gazprom cooperation has reached a new level. “I know that we have been discussing several joint projects with Gazprom and you may suggest some new ones,” said the President. “At least as far as the projects that were suggested earlier are concerned, cooperation avenues that satisfy both sides have been found. We can discuss them with you but the solutions have been found”.

    “We are greatly pleased with Gazprom’s more daring advancement of huge investments in Belarus. We support it, it is profitable for us,” stressed the head of state. Yet he remarked that this kind of cooperation is profitable for Gazprom, too.

    “Let’s talk about these projects and outline our future cooperation ways,” suggested the Belarusian head of state.

    At the meeting Aleksandr Lukashenko and Alexei Miller discussed cooperation in the gas industry. In 2012 Belarus imported 22 billion square meters of gas. The gas import went up 10% as against 2011. “This is a bright testimony to the fact that the country’s economy is vigorously developing, while the energy consumption is the first and foremost indicator of economic growth,” Alexei Miller said after the meeting.

    The sides also discussed gas transit via Belarus. The 100% workload of Belarus’ transit installations is expected to be reached this year. The transit will reach 44.5 billion cubic meters of gas.

    “In the future Gazprom is planning to increase Russian gas transit via Belarus by 30%. Relevant instructions to develop the feasibility study will be given. I think we will get down to this work in 2013. Then we could considerably increase transit volumes within a sufficiently short time, within three or four years. In the future we are ready to invest in creating new installations to transit gas via Belarus,” said Alexei Miller.

    One of the priorities is to ensure a reliable and steady gas supply of Belarus. Gazprom together with the government of Belarus is developing a 3-year and 10-year investment programs, which will focus on reconstruction of gas distribution stations. “We are planning to have more than 10 gas distribution stations upgraded per year and a total of 35 stations by 2015,” Alexei Miller said.

    The meeting also touched upon ways to ensure smooth provision of natural gas during the autumn-winter period. According to Alexei Miller, this can be done by increasing the active capacities of underground natural gas storage facilities. There are three underground storages in Belarus. “First of all, we need to pay attention to the Mozyr underground gas storage facility. We believe that the capacities of the active underground gas storage facilities should be expanded using this underground storage facility. We plan to construct a gas pipeline from the Mozyr underground gas storage facility towards the Nesvizh gas compressor station in the direction of Minsk,” Alexei Miller said.

    The President and the Chairman of the Board of OAO Gazprom also discussed reliability of gas provision in certain regions, in particular, in Polesie. “We think that it would make sense to build a bridging gas pipeline Mikashevichi-Luninets,” Alexei Miller said.

    Alexei Miller with Aleksandr Lukashenko discussed cooperation in using gas-engine fuel. Alexei Miller said: “We have already signed a protocol on joint work in this area with the Belarus government. The President fully approves of it. I think that in the near future we and the Belarus government will work out a joint action plan”.

    The sides also discussed joint social projects. In particular Gazprom is willing to build a large modern multifunctional business center which could also include health and fitness facilities, a hotel. In addition, Alexei Miller spoke about the agreement on financing the construction of a multi-family house for large families. Gazprom will also, in cooperation with the Minsk City Council, finance the construction of the interchange on Independence Avenue. “I would like to say some words about the Moskovsky bus terminal, its upgrade. Gazprom is ready to invest heavily in this project. I am not going to reveal the sum but it is pretty big,” the Gazprom Chairman of the Board said.

    Alexei Miller thanked Aleksandr Lukashenko for the opportunity to visit Belovezhskaya Pushcha and the Brest Fortress in August 2012. “I was greatly impressed by the Brest Fortress and we’ve decided to restore the southeastern barracks, perform a major overhaul and place an exhibition there. We will help the Brest Fortress, provide finance and render all kinds of aid,” said Alexei Miller.