The energy and petroleum industries are the basis of the Belarusian economy. At the same time, the country’s almost total dependence on Russia is becoming a barrier to its own development, and the rising prices of Russian gas and crude oil may lead to a serious crisis in the state’s finances. Until 2024, when the gas contract with Russia and preferential oil purchase rules expire, the Belarusian authorities will have a few limited opportunities to develop energy cooperation with EU countries. However, if by that time the Belarusians do not conclude new favourable agreements with Russia, which does not want to subsidise Belarus to the extent it does now, Belarus increasingly will be interested in acquiring gas and oil from other countries.
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Patrycja Sasnal for Council on Foreign Relations
Aleksandra Gawlikowska-Fyk and Bartosz Wiśniewski for Euractiv