Minsk ponders about oil deliveries from the West
Amidst difficult talks with Russia, Belarus is looking for alternative routes for energy imports, including in the West. In this regard, the Baltic states are gaining importance. Latvia, in particular, since it has always pursued a pragmatic policy in building bilateral relations with Belarus.
On January 16th 2020, the Prime Minister of Latvia, Krišjānis Kariņš, paid a working visit to Minsk and held talks with President Lukashenka and Prime Minister Rumas. Following the talks, two important messages were made: firstly, Latvia was ready to transfer oil for Belarus through its ports (the Lithuanian Klaipedos Nafta also announced this earlier), and secondly, Belarus would work out with Latvia ways to ensure direct supplies of Belarusian electricity to the latter. Currently, electricity goes to Latvia through Lithuania, but after putting into operation the Astravets NPP, Belarus would no longer be able to use this route.
In addition, a possible date for Lukashenka’s visit to Riga was announced, April 3rd. Based on how carefully this visit is being prepared, it would be reasonable to assume that it would pave the way for signing important agreements or competing for a transaction similar to the purchase of a part of the terminal in the port of Klaipeda in 2013.