OREANDA-NEWS. On October 14, 2008 At a session of the Presidium of the Council of Ministers Prime Minister of Belarus Sergei Sidorsky urged to finish the preparations for the autumn-winter period 2008/2009 in the shortest possible time, reported the Official website www.government.by.

According to him, by October 15 all facilities should be ready 100% for the beginning of the heating season. The officials who have accepted the certificates of preparedness of the facilities will be personally responsible for any failures of the equipment in the autumn-winter period, Sergei Sidorsky warned.

According to Deputy Economy Minister Anatoly Filonov, almost all preparations for the heating season are over. For example, as of October 1 the mazut stocks were running at around 600,000 tonnes, or 18.6% up from October 1. The organisations subordinate to the Energy Ministry have the mazut stocks at 428,000 tonnes, or 7.1% more than projected. The utilities companies have fuel mazut stocks at 63,700 tonnes (87.5% more than projected).

As of October 1 the companies subordinate to the Beltopgas concern produced 2.65 million tonnes of peat, or 91.2% of the annual task. Yet, the industry is lagging behind the peat briquette production schedule. Sergei Sidorsky ordered the Energy Ministry and oblast authorities to solve this issue immediately. He urged to define the demand of households and organisations for this fuel for the upcoming heating season and to export surpluses.

Belarus has elaborated the schedule of pumping natural gas into the Osipovichskoye and Pribugskoye gas storage facilities in order to enhance the reliability of the gas supply in the country. As of October 1, 2008, the gas stocks at these facilities totaled 538 million cubic meters. The necessary volume of gas will be stored by November 20.

According to Energy Minister of Belarus Alexander Ozerets, gas storage facilities will be filled up with nearly 810 million cubic meters including 760 million cubic meters in the Osipovichkoye and Pribugskoye storage facilities and 50 million cubic meters in the Mozyr gas storage facility.

There are still some unsettled issues including the registration of the certificates of preparedness for the autumn-winter 2008/2009 period by the utilities services. According to Minister of Housing Utilities Vladimir Belokhvostov, there are 21 utilities services that have not been given the certificates of preparedness. “Of course, they will get heating services. But the fines will be imposed on these services and the people in charge of them,” he said.

There are some problems with an incomplete restoration of cable lines, overdue payments for firewood, low utilization of budgetary loans. These shortcomings will be addressed in the offing.
In 2009 Belarus plans to import 21.6 billion cubic metres of Russian gas, Energy Minister of Belarus Alexander Ozerets told reporters on October 14.

According to him, this volume has been agreed with the Russian side.

Alexander Ozerets also said that this year Belarus will use fully its gas quota. Over the nine months Belarus used 15.3 billion cubic metres; the remainder is around 6 billion cubic metres.