According to Reuters, citing 4 different sources, Belarusian company Beloil signed a contract on the purchase of 80,000 tons of oil from the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC).
The agency says that this is the first deal between Belarus and Iran on oil supplies.
According to oil traders, Iran might start loading tankers around February 20th. The logistics of the supplies is not entirely clear, most likely the Iranian oil will be first taken to the port of Odessa on the Black Sea, or the port of Ventspils on the Baltic Sea, and then transported to Belarus by rail.
Belarus is actively seeking alternative sources of raw materials on the background of limited supply from Russia. Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko gave a corresponding order to the Government. In 2016 Russian oil was partially replaced by supplies from Azerbaijani company Socar, which shipped 560 thousand tons of oil to Belarus. In January these supplies stopped.
Throughout the whole 2016 Belarus has been negotiating with Russia on reduction of gas prices. In July Russia cut oil supplies to Belarus almost by one third.
Russia also continues “gas blackmail”, demanding Belarus to increase payments for gas supplies.