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Belarus threatens to stop gas transit if Gazprom cuts gas supplies to this country in 2007.

Belarus threatens to stop gas transit if Gazprom cuts gas supplies to this country in 2007. Belarus threatened to stop transit of Russian natural gas through its territory if Belarus and Gazprom fail to sign the contract for gas supplies in 2007. It was stated by Belarusian deputy PM Vladimir Semashko. Gazprom wants to double the current gas price for Belarus in 2007. Otherwise the company may cut supplies on Jan 1.  The current contract terminates on Jan 1, 2007 . Sergei Kupriyanov, a spokesman for Gazprom, said that the company would supply gas to Belarus only on the basis of a new contract. About 80% of the Russian gas supplies go to Europe through Ukraine and about 20% - through Belarus . Belarus proposed the gas price to be set at USD 75 per 1,000m 3. But, as Kupriyanov said, in this case Gazprom will receive USD 1.5bn for 20bn m 3 of gas exported to Belarus . In addition it will have to pay USD 2.5bn for a 25% stake in Beltransgaz and for the gas transit to Europe through this country.  Intellinews comment : However, Gazprom is not likely to cut gas supplies to Belarus on Jan 1 because this will hamper its reputation and demonstrate low reliability of the company.

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