Reuters reported that Belarus’s Bel Oil had purchased 80,000 tons – equal to 600,000 barrels – of Iranian Light and Heavy crude oil from National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) for loading in February.
Bel Oil is expected to ship the Iranian crude oil to either the Black Sea port of Odessa or the Baltic port of Ventspils for rail transportation to Belarus, the report added. The logistics for this are yet to be agreed.
Reuters further added that a vessel would be loaded from Iran’s Kharg Island on February 20.
Belarus’ reported purchase of oil from Iran comes as the country is trying to look for alternative crude oil supplies after Russia cut exports to the country in 2016 over a gas price row between the two countries.
Russia cut crude oil exports to Belarus to 18 million tons in 2016 from an initial planned 24 million. Since early 2016, Russia and Belarus had been unable to reach an agreement concerning how much Belarus should pay for Russian gas and the conditions for cooperation in the oil sector, other agencies reported.
In August last year, reports emerged that Poland was also trying to replace Iran with Russia as its key oil supplier.
Traders said at the time that a cargo of two million barrels of Iranian oil on board a Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC) was on its way to the Polish port of Gdansk.
Poland’s purchase of oil from Iran was seen as in line with the country’s policy to reduce its reliance on Russian oil imports. The policy, analysts said, had been devised as Moscow’s tensions with the West had already stoked increased energy security fears.