The tradition of carrying the Olympic torch originated in ancient Greece and reminded people about Prometheus who got fire and gave it to people. The fire of the Belarusian torch originates from... Gazprom. Gazprom is not Prometheus. It doesn’t just give fire, it sells it, and not at a low price. That’s why Belarus and Russia had an argument. By October 20, Russia wanted to get money from Belarus for gas and for pumping the volumes necessary for Belarusian refineries. Due to reduction in supplies from Russia, the Belarusian pumps weren’t working properly. It could be seen as pressure on Minsk, or... we could just say that pumping units "got tired". In any case, Belarusian refineries survived it.
Mozyr Oil Refinery processes an average of 12 million tons of oil per year. It produces high-octane gasoline and diesel fuel. Since July, oil flows were cut. Deliveries of black gold from Russia declined by one-third immediately.
Sergey Krot, acting General Director of Mozyr Oil Refinery:
Reduced volumes of raw materials had a negative impact, there was a decrease in performance. We had to stop a plant for primary processing given the reduction of raw material volumes.
Oil and gas disputes emerged at the beginning of 2016. The stumbling block was the price of gas. As a result, the dispute led to a decrease in oil supplies. There has been no collapse of refineries; the enterprises continued to operate, with less efficiency, but in normal mode.
Modernization helps the company be afloat, even when the world oil market is in storm. Over the past six months, the Mozyr refinery has completed the construction of three plants.
Evgeny Grigorovich, deputy chief technologist of Mozyr Oil Refinery:
This complex will allow the Mozyr plant to, firstly, increase the production of commodity gasoline of the European class and, secondly, replace products with our own generation, since until this time, the plant has purchased ether abroad.
And here is the biggest project in the history of the plant. These reactors were manufactured in Japan and transported to Mozyr by sea. After the construction of the installation, the depth of oil processing will amount to almost 90%. The entire process will be virtually waste-free.
Annually to load its two refineries Belarus buys 22-23 million tons of oil. All hydrocarbon raw materials come from Russia.
Belarus has sought alternative sources of supply, for example, in 2010, during another oil dispute with Russia. There were plans to carry out joint projects with Venezuela and Azerbaijan.
Alexander Sinkevich, political scientist:
Belarus can reduce its dependence on a single energy supplier. The idea is that 15-20% of the energy balance should be filled from various sources. Middle Eastern suppliers, Iran, Latin America, why not? These supplies need to be revived from time to time.
Valery Polkhovsky, financial analyst:
Yes, now sanctions against Iran have been lifted. And he is trying to return the markets it lost during its absence in the market. In order to return to the market it, of course, offers discounts.
One of the largest oil fields in Russia is in Tatarstan. Head of the Republic of Tatarstan last week met with the President of Belarus. And the oil industry has become one of the key topics of conversation.
Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus:
We would like our company to have more orders in your republic. Believe me, it will be much cheaper than the services of any other company. I think that, given our good relations, you will find a profitable piece of work for this company.
Belarus and Russia are connected by the oil pipe Druzhba (Eng: Friendship).
Ilona Volynets, correspondent:
The pipeline runs underground. And this is one of the few places where you can see it on the surface. This is exactly the pipe through which the black gold is flowing. Here it goes through quality assessment system and then flows into the huge reservoirs. Their total volume is about 120,000 tons.