Russia’s Gazprom cut off natural gas supplies to the Netherlands after the Dutch refused to pay in rubles. This is followed by Denmark.
Russian energy giant Gazprom said on Tuesday that it had completely suspended gas supplies to Gaster due to a Dutch trader’s “failure to pay in rubles”.
In a March 31 decree, Russian President Vladimir Putin demanded that natural-gas payments be made in rubles, which would require the opening of a Euro and Ruble account in Gazprombank in Moscow to process payments.
“GasTerra will not go along with the payment demands of Gazprom,” said GasTerra, which is partly state-owned and trades on behalf of the government.
“Doing so risks violating the sanctions imposed by the EU and there are also significant financial and operational risks associated with the required payment route,” the Dutch company said in a statement on Monday. “In particular, the opening of accounts in Moscow under Russian law and their control by the Russian monarchy is a very big risk.”
The Dutch government said it understood GasTerra’s decision not to comply with Gazprom’s demand for payment in rubles.
Dutch Meteorological and Energy Minister Rob Jetton said on Twitter on Monday that “this decision will have no effect on the physical supply of gas to Dutch homes.” According to Reuters, the Netherlands depends on Russia for about 15% of its gas supply.
The Dutch government says on its website that the country has sufficient gas reserves in the short term and plans to import more liquefied natural gas from countries other than Russia.
This is followed by Denmark
In neighboring Denmark, the power company Orstad is also warning Gazprom about cutting off natural gas supplies because it is also refusing to pay in rubles.
“We have no legal obligation under the agreement to do so and we have repeatedly informed Gazprom Export that we will not do so,” Orsted said in a press release on Monday.
With the intention to continue paying in euros for Tuesday’s payments, “there is a risk that Gazprom Exports will cut off gas supplies to Orested,” the power company said.
Orstad said it expects to be able to buy gas on the European gas market. Both the Netherlands and Denmark produce their own natural gas.
The Danish energy agency said in a statement on Monday that Gazprom’s cut in natural gas supplies was not expected to have any immediate effect and that an emergency plan had been drawn up.
Gazprom did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Gazprom has already cut off gas supplies to Poland, Bulgaria and Finland, all of which have refused to pay in rubles.
The whole of Europe is not ready to release Russian natural gas right now. Some major buyers, such as Italy’s Eni and Germany’s Uniper, have opened accounts at Gazprombank to meet Russian payment demands.