Belarus - Energy and power

Domestic electricity is produced by four thermal plants. Belarus also imports electricity generated by nuclear and hydroelectric plants. In 2000, net electricity generation was 24.6 billion kWh, of which over 95% came from fossil fuels, with the remainder from hydropower and other sources. In the same year, consumption of electricity totaled 26.8 million kWh. Total installed capacity at the beginning of 2001 was 7.5 million kW.

Only a small portion of Belarus's energy requirement is met by local production. Belarus has been producing oil since 1964 and had 37 operational fields in 1995. As of 2002 Belarus had oil reserves estimated at 198 million barrels, but there was a lack of foreign investment to fund exploration. About 37,000 barrels of oil were produced per day in 2001, along with a nominal amount of peat and natural gas. Peat is found throughout the country and is processed by 37 fuel briquetting plants. Natural gas production in 2002 totaled only 210 million cu m (7.4 billion cu ft). There are two major oil refineries: Mazyr and Navapolatsk, with a combined Altough oil consumption has been cut roughly in half since the early 1990s, Belarus was still obliged to import 75% of its oil from Russia as of 2002. In December 2002, Belarus sold its 11% stake in Slavneft, a joint Belarussian-Russian state-run oil company, to Russia.

Belarus is an important transit route for Russian oil and natural gas exports to Eastern Europe, via pipelines that can carry up to 1,030,000 barrels per day of oil and 22.7 billion cu m (800 billion cu ft) per year of natural gas. Roughly half of Russia's net oil exports travel through Belarus, and a trade agreement between the two countries exempts Russian from paying export duties on this oil. In March 1993, Poland and Russia entered into an agreement to build a 2,500-mile natural gas pipeline from Russia's northern Yamal Peninsula, through Belarus and Poland, to Germany. When completed by 2010, the new pipeline will have a capacity of more than 56.6 billion cu m (2 trillion cu ft) per year. To maintain stable supplies of oil and natural gas, Belarus has entered a joint project with Russia, sponsored by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD,) to develop 60 million tons of oil from idle wells in Russia's Tymen region in exchange for guaranteed Russian oil supplies.

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