Russia will stop gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria starting tomorrow


Russia The disruption of gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria is in a major escalation of Russia’s broader dispute with the West over its invasion Ukraine.

Russian energy giant Gazprom has told Poland’s PGNiG that it will halt gas supplies starting tomorrow morning, the Polish state-controlled oil and gas company said in a statement.

The Bulgarian Ministry of Energy has also confirmed that gas supplies will be suspended from tomorrow.

Poland and Bulgaria will be the first countries to have gas cut off from Europe’s main supplier since Moscow invaded Ukraine on February 24. The move to shut down supplies follows sanctions Warsaw imposed on Russian individuals and companies.

Russian President Wladimir Putin has demanded that countries it describes as “unfriendly” agree to implement a system under which they would open accounts with Gazprombank and make payments for Russian gas imports in euros or dollars, converted into rubles.

He had threatened to halt gas supplies if demand was not fully met.

Poland, a staunch political opponent of Moscow, has a gas deal with Russia that expires at the end of this year. It has repeatedly stated that it will not comply with the new system of gas payments. It has also said it would not renew the contract.

Poland also did not renew its gas transit contract with Gazprom in 2020. Since then, the Russian gas supplier has had to participate in auctions for pipeline capacity via the Yamal-Europe pipeline from Belarus to Poland.

Poland’s gas supply contract with Gazprom is 10.2 billion cubic meters (bcm) per year and covers about 50 percent of the national consumption.

Earlier today, data from the EU network of gas transmission operators showed that physical gas flows across the Yamal-Europe route had been halted but resumed later today.

Poland’s energy supply is secure, Poland’s climate ministry said today, adding that there is no need to draw from gas reserves and gas will not be cut for consumers.

The country can get gas through two connections with Germany, including a reverse flow via the Yamal pipeline, a connection with Lithuania with an annual capacity of 2.5 bcm that will open on May 1, and an interconnector with the Czech Republic Republic for up to 1.5 billion m3.

Another 5-6 billion cubic meters could be shipped via a connection with Slovakia, which will open later this year.

In addition, PGNiG can import up to 6 billion cubic meters per year via the LNG terminal in Świnoujście on the Baltic Sea and produces more than 3 billion cubic meters of gas per year locally in Poland. A pipeline will be opened in October that will allow up to 10 billion cubic meters of gas per year to flow between Poland and Norway.

Gazprom said Poland will have to make payments under a new system from Tuesday. She did not elaborate and did not comment on PGNiG’s statement about the possible stoppage of gas supplies.

Few Russian gas buyers, such as Hungary and Uniper, Germany’s main importer of Russian gas, have said it is possible to pay for future supplies under the Moscow-announced scheme without violating EU sanctions.

The Kremlin said Gazprom is implementing the presidential decree enforcing payment for gas supplies in rubles.

PGNiG said it will take steps to restore gas flow under the Yamal Treaty and that any disruption to supplies is a violation of that treaty.

It added it had the right to seek damages for breach of contract.

Poland today announced a list of 50 Russian oligarchs and companies, including Gazprom, who would be subject to sanctions under a law allowing their assets to be frozen, passed earlier this month. The law is separate from sanctions imposed jointly by EU countries. Russia will stop gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria starting tomorrow

Fry Electronics Team

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