IGOR SECHIN TO RETURN RUSSIA TO BELARUS

Author: Kirill Melnikov, Anna Solodovnikova, Galina Dudina

IGOR SECHIN TO RETURN RUSSIA TO BELARUS. (By Kirill Melnikov, Anna Solodovnikova and Galina Dudina. Kommersant, Sept. 12, 2013, p. 1. Condensed text:) . . . While some Russian top managers are afraid to travel to Belarus in the wake of the arrest of Uralkaly [Urals Potassium] head Vladislav Baumgertner [see Current Digest, Vol. 65, No. 34-35, pp. 13-15], Rosneft President Igor Sechin is using the situation to his advantage. Yesterday, he met with Belarussian President Aleksandr Lukashenko and head of Belneftekhim [Belarussian Petrochemical] Igor Zhilin. And the meeting was very cordial. Mr. Lukashenko now "anticipates that it will be possible to reach an agreement on the necessary volume of oil supplies to the country." He assured Igor Sechin that Minsk "clearly sees the benefit of working with [him]." The head of Rosneft is also convinced that the problems have been resolved. He told Aleksandr Lukashenko that the Russian government, president and Energy Ministry have "helped maintain oil supply volumes" to Minsk.

Representatives of the Russian government and the president could not explain to Kommersant when plans for Belarus's oil supply had changed: Recall that Arkady Dvorkovich, the [Russian] deputy prime minister in charge of fuel and energy, had clearly stated after Mr. Baumgertner's arrest that deliveries would be cut back. But none of the officials, including those in Mr. Dvorkovich's office, have denied Igor Sechin's statements or his right to make them. The reduction in supplies was to be discussed today at a meeting with Arkady Dvorkovich and Belarussian Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Semashko.

But Kommersant sources believe Igor Sechin's visit to Minsk "changed those plans, and the meeting has been postponed indefinitely." A representative of the deputy prime minister has no comment. The quarterly schedule for oil exports to Belarus is to be approved today, says one of Kommersant's sources.

But Mr. Sechin is planning to do more than just solve Belarus's oil problem: ...

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