&# 171; Belarusian Oil Company&# 187; hired a lobbyist to get a license to buy American crude oil
Belarus wants to buy US oil for the first time for its refineries in an effort to diversify imports and reduce dependence on neighboring Russia.
Meanwhile, Moscow is expressing increased interest in forging an alliance with Belarus, saying it wants to revive this project, which has been delayed for the past 20 years..
The state-owned Belarusian Oil Company, affiliated with the oil refining concern Belneftekhim, has hired lobbyist David Gencarelli to ease sanctions against Belarus and get permission to buy American crude oil.
Gencarelli will help the company obtain a special license from the US Treasury Department to “purchase crude oil for delivery to refineries in the Republic of Belarus,” according to documents filed under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
Gencarelli himself, who has worked as a lobbyist for almost 30 years, has not yet commented. According to his social media profile, Gencarelli assists his clients, including those in the energy industry, in interacting with Congress and various federal agencies..
As of August 22, it was not possible to receive a comment from the representative of the Belarusian Embassy in Washington.
President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko said during a visit to Kazakhstan in May this year that he would like to diversify the structure of oil imports. However, Belarus’ ability to import oil from the United States is limited by sanctions.
Washington imposed sanctions on Belarus in 2006 in response to “undermining democratic processes” in connection with dishonest presidential elections. A year later, the sanctions were expanded, and Belneftekhim was included in the list.
In 2015, when Lukashenka allowed election observers and released some political prisoners, the United States began to provide Belneftekhim with temporary exemptions from the sanctions regime for a period of six months with the possibility of extension.
The current decision to exempt from sanctions expires on 25 October.
In September or October, Gencarelli will try to arrange a meeting with “representatives of the US government departments involved in the licensing process,” according to the filings..
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