Deliveries of Russian oil via Belarus to points West suffered several brief interruptions during January 5 through 8, causing a slight decrease in the volumes scheduled for delivery to Poland and Germany. The problem has arisen following Minsk’s introduction of a transit charge for Russian oil through Belarusian pipelines, as a compensatory response to Moscow’s introduction of customs duties on oil supplies to Belarus (see EDM, January 8).
Confusion prevails regarding the responsibility for these delivery interruptions. On January 8, European Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs and the relevant ministries in the Polish and German governments issued statements noting a deficit of information from the Russian and the Belarus sides. The statements call on both sides to provide detailed and prompt information and abide by their commercial commitments regarding oil supply and transit, respectively.