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A gas-compressor station near the Belarusian capital, Minsk (file photo) (Bymedia.net)
May 2, 2006 -- Russia's state-controlled natural-gas giant Gazprom is considering tripling prices for Belarus next year.
Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov said today Gazprom may in 2007 ask for a minimum of $145 dollars per thousand cubic meters of gas.
Belarus, a close ally of Russia, currently pays about $47 per thousand cubic meters. It is the only former Soviet for whom the price of Russian gas has not risen in the past year.
Kupriyanov said the decision to keep the gas price for Belarus unchanged was based solely on economic considerations.
He said Gazprom was still waiting for proposals by Minsk before settling on a new price.
Many analysts believe Russia is seeking control over Beltranshaz, the state-run operator of the Belarusian pipeline network that transports Russian gas to European markets.