No \"big interest\" from Russian companies in stake in Mazyr Oil Refinery

Russian companies have not displayed a big interest in buying the Belarusian government\'s stake in Mazyr Oil Refinery.

Russian companies have not displayed a big interest in buying the Belarusian government's stake in Mazyr Oil Refinery, Russian Ambassador Aleksandr Surikov told reporters in Minsk on June 11.

"Apparently this should be discussed," he said.

The ambassador described the terms of the stake sale announced by Minsk as tough. "I mean the requirements that the number of employees should not change and that the amount of refined oil should be increased by 10 million tons, and so on," he said.

Russian oil companies have "questions" about the terms, Mr. Surikov said. "We have a bit different approach: it's rather profits than the amount of processed materials that matters," he noted. "That's why there are differences in approaches and they can be settled through talks. And the terms are tough so far."

Speaking this past February, Heorhiy Kuznyatsow, head of Belarus' State Property Committee, said that the oil refinery's value had been estimated at $4 billion.

Belarus will be ready to sell the stake to an investor that pledges to satisfy the demand of the Mazyr-based company and the country's other oil refinery, Naftan, for crude oil in full within the next 10 years and build a new oil refinery with an annual refining capacity of 10 million tons, said Mr. Kuznyatsow.

Igor Sechin, president of Russia's Rosneft, said in October 2013 that the state-owned company was interested to acquire the Belarusian government's 42.76-percent stake in Mazyr Oil Refinery.

Russia's Slavneft, which is controlled by Gazprom Neft and Rosneft, owns 42.58 percent in the refinery. The remaining shares are held by individuals.

Deputy Prime Minister Pyotr Prakapovich said last December that Minsk would agree to sell the stake to Rosneft in exchange for an increase in the amount of crude oil supplied by the Russian company to Belarus to 20 million tons by 2020.