Russia arms its energy weapon, targets Belarus over gas prices

Russia finds itself once again in a row with one of its neighbors over gas prices — a constant theme since the early 2000s — triggering renewed fears that Moscow is again using energy as a weapon to put pressure on its customers. Back in the spotlight is Belarus, which has already been confronted with the Russian energy weapon three times before in 2004, 2007 and 2010. Since July 1, Russia has reduced crude oil supplies to Belarus by more than 40% — a direct consequence, Moscow says, of the row over gas prices. And who’s to say that Russia won’t turn off the gas taps to Belarus — just as it did in 2004 and 2010 — to force Minsk to pay up? This, in turn, would likely see some disruption to the transit of some 37 Bcm/year of gas via Belarus to Europe. Below is a summary of previous occasions where price disputes have led Russia to use its energy weapon in the past. 2004: Belarus On February 18, Russia halted all gas deliveries into Belarus, including gas intended for European markets accessed via Belarus’ pipeline network, following a price dispute, the first example of Russia using its

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Source: CTRM Center

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