Russian Gazprom Suspends Gas Supplies to Bulgaria, Poland

In the toughest response yet by the Kremlin to the crippling sanctions over the conflict in Ukraine imposed by the West, Russian energy giant and main natural gas supplier, Gazprom has announced on Wednesday a complete halt in gas exports to Bulgaria and Poland.

According to a company statement, these two countries refused to make payments in rubles and will not have their supplies resumed until they comply with the new terms imposed by Putin’s presidential decree dated March 31.

Noting that ‘Bulgargaz’ (Bulgaria) and PGNiG (Poland) were notified in a timely manner that payments for gas delivered since April 1 must be made in rubles, the energy giant explained that it had not received ruble payments for gas deliveries in April from both companies as of the end of the working day on Tuesday.

Gazprom has warned that should Sofia and Warsaw start siphoning Russian transit gas intended for other countries, the company it will reduce supplies by the amount these two countries have illegally withheld.

Poland was among the European countries that refused to follow the new procedure for rubles payment and sanctioned Gazprom on Tuesday. The Russian energy giant owns 48% of the Polish co-owner of the Yamal-Europe 4,000km gas pipeline that transports gas from western Siberia and the Yamal Peninsula via Belarus to Germany and Poland.

Sofia, which relies on Russia for around 90% of its gas, pointed out that ruble payments pose significant risks to Bulgaria, whose 10-year contract with Gazprom is set to expire at the end of 2022, but the state energy firm Bulgargaz, as Bulgarian Energy Ministry stressed, will not finish the contract if it had to pay in rubles.

Bulgargaz spokesman noted last month that as of this summer, Azerbaijan, which now provides 10% of the gas for Bulgaria, will provide the country’s entire supply, albeit at a higher price and Sofia’s plans further ahead are to connect to still unfinished LNG terminal in Greece where gas will be imported – likely from the US – by ship.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.