Russia suspends gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria

Russia’s Gazprom suspended gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria on Wednesday morning due to their refusal to make payments in rubles, sparking a political crisis over Moscow’s reliability as an energy supplier to the EU.

“Gazprom’s announcement that it is unilaterally halting gas supplies to consumers in Europe is yet another attempt by Russia to use gas as a blackmail tool,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Wednesday morning. statement. “This is unjustified and unacceptable. And once again shows the unreliability of Russia as a gas supplier.”

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki called move “direct attack on Poland.”

News of the surprise move broke late Tuesday when the Russian gas export monopoly notified its customers in Poland and Bulgaria that gas supplies would be cut off.

“PGNiG has received a letter from Gazprom announcing a complete suspension of supplies under the Yamal contract … effective April 27,” Polish gas company PGNiG said in a statement. Wednesday morning company said“there was a complete cessation of natural gas supplies.”

A similar note was received by the Bulgarian gas operator Bulgargaz, according to the Ministry of Energy of the country. said.

PGNiG said Russia’s decision was due to the Polish energy company’s refusal to pay for gas in rubles, as demanded by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The decree, signed by Putin on March 31, creates a process whereby foreign gas buyers from so-called unfriendly countries – which include Poland and other EU members – must pay in rubles. EU countries have largely abandoned the requirement, saying it violates contracts denominated in dollars and euros.

The European Commission said such payments would violate EU sanctions imposed after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Gazprom Export has notified Bulgargaz and PGNiG of the suspension of gas supplies from April 27 until settlements are made in the manner prescribed by the Decree — Gazprom. said on Wednesday.

PGNiG said it continues to “repay its obligations for natural gas supplied under the Yamal contract in accordance with its current terms.”

The Polish utility service demanded that Gazprom resume gas supplies. If that didn’t happen, he warned, “the Company reserves the right to claim damages.”

“There are no contractual grounds for suspending gas supplies supplied under the Yamal contract,” PGNiG said.

Bulgaria also abandoned the requirement to pay in rubles. The new Russian payment system “contradicts the agreement valid until the end of this year and poses significant risks for the Bulgarian side,” the Ministry of Energy said.

This was stated by Minister of Energy Alexander Nikolov. said: “Natural gas is used as a political and economic weapon.”

Despite Gazprom cutting off supplies to Poland and Bulgaria, pipeline gas continued to flow to other consumers, and Gazprom warned Poland and Bulgaria not to take gas destined for other buyers.

Poland has promised to stop importing Russian coal, gas and oil and is demanding that other EU countries do the same.

“We are ready for a complete shutdown of Russian fossil fuel supplies,” Polish Climate and Environment Minister Anna Moskva said at a press conference on Tuesday.

Poland receives 46% of gas, 64% of oil and 15% of coal from Russia. Energy Forumanalytical center.

The Polish authorities insist that the shutdown will not affect gas consumers.

“Thanks to the implementation of the state strategy for diversifying gas supply sources, PGNiG is ready to receive gas from various directions, including through gas connections on the western and southern borders and the Swinoujscie LNG terminal,” PGNiG said.

Moscow said: “Poland has the necessary gas reserves and supply sources that protect our security,” adding that the country’s gas storage facilities are 80 percent full. She said that Poland will continue to buy gas from the European and international markets and intends to fill its reserves by 100 percent.

Bulgaria, which receives 90 percent of its gas from Russia, said it “has taken steps to secure alternative natural gas supplies and resolve the situation. Measures to limit consumption in Bulgaria are not needed at this stage.”

Nikolov said that there would be enough gas in the country for the next month.

Neither Poland nor Bulgaria produce much electricity from gas, which is mainly used for heating houses and industry.

Poland’s 1996 deal with Gazprom expires at the end of the year, and Warsaw has said it will not be renewed. Piotr Naimsky, who is in charge of strategic energy infrastructure, said that Poland was already planning to cut off Russian gas supplies and that Gazprom’s decision “has accelerated this.”

Russia’s decision caused a jump in gas prices. Month Ahead Gas Contracts at the EU TTF Reference Trade Center in the Netherlands jumped by more than 20 percent on Wednesday morning to 125 euros per MWh before returning to 108 euros per MWh.

This article has been updated to confirm that shipments have been stopped.

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