Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said Friday that a deal with Venezuela means his country can pull back on the amount of oil it gets from Russia.
"We are likely to get less than half of oil (we need) from Russia," he was quoted by Russia's state-run news agency RIA Novosti as saying. "The rest from the world markets."
He said Russia should take a look at its energy investment strategy because he felt the European community was looking for alternative supplies.
Around 20 percent of the 21 million tons of oil exported to Belarus in 2009 was used for domestic consumption with the rest exported after passing through Belarusian refineries. Minsk in early November said it wanted a better tariff scenario for Russia's crude.
Officials added that Venezuelan crude could also travel through the Odessa-Brody oil pipeline.
The 419-mile pipeline had been operated in the reverse direction toward Russia following supply concerns. Russian oil is delivered to the Odessa-Brody pipeline from a junction of the Druzhba pipeline, the longest in the world.
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