Belgium (Brussels Morning Newspaper) Moscow expanded its gas delivery cuts to European countries on Tuesday, as its gas giant Gazprom announced it would cease supplying several “unfriendly” countries which have refused to participate in Moscow’s mandatory roubles-for-gas payments.
The move comes across as retaliation to the latest EU sanctions package against Moscow, which will see the Union immediately introduce an embargo to all shipborne oil imports, cutting its Russian oil imports by 70%, with the pledge by Germany and Poland to end their imports of Russian oil through existing pipelines by the end of year, which would result in EU ending as much as 90% of its current oil imports from Russia.
Gazprom announced on Tuesday that it has fully cut gas deliveries to Dutch gas trading company GasTerra, later adding it would stop all gas deliveries to Denmark’s Orsted and Shell Energy starting with 1 June. The company stressed that both European buyers refused to pay for their deliveries in roubles – a likely illegal measure introduced by Moscow with the aim to prop up falling rouble.
GasTerra is tasked with purchasing and trading gas on behalf of the government of Netherlands, and has already announced on Tuesday that it had already contracted an alternative supply for the 2 billion cubic metres of gas it was originally scheduled to receive from Gazprom by October this year.
Orsted issued a similar reassuring release, stressing there was no immediate risk to Denmark’s gas supplies, and has announced it would seek alternative sources on the European gas market to make up for the lost supply. Orsted CEO Mads Nipper commented on the Gazprom announcement by stressing that the company expects covering the loss of Russian supply should be possible through the European market.
Russia had previously cut gas supplies to Bulgaria, Poland and Finland, all of which had previously rejected Moscow’s roubles-for-gas scheme, claiming it represented a breach of original contracts, which stipulated payments in euros.