The European Union said gas importers in the bloc could continue paying for Russian fuel without breaking sanctions imposed on Moscow.
The European Commission sent its revised guidelines to member states on Friday, a spokesman said. The updated recommendations also state that companies should make a clear statement that they consider their obligations fulfilled as soon as they pay in euros or dollars.
EU sanctions “do not prevent economic operators from opening a bank account with a specific bank for payments due under contracts for the supply of natural gas in gaseous state in the currency specified in those contracts,” the Commission said.
“Operators should make a clear statement that they intend to fulfill their obligations under existing contracts and consider their contractual obligations in relation to payment already fulfilled by paying in euros or dollars in accordance with the existing contracts.”
The guidelines will not prevent companies from opening an account with Gazprombank and will allow them to buy gas in accordance with EU sanctions following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
But it doesn’t address Moscow’s requirement to open a second account in rubles, which a decree by President Vladimir Putin said is required to complete the payment.
European companies are beginning to move forward to meet Russian demands and keep the gas flowing.
Italian energy giant Eni will open accounts in rubles and euros with Gazprombank by Wednesday, allowing it to make payments on time this month and avoid risks to gas supplies, according to people familiar with the situation.
The company waited for the official release of those guidelines before acting, one of the people said.
German giant Uniper and Austria’s OMV have also said they anticipate further gas purchases.
In full, the EU guidelines state that “Council Regulation (EU) 833/2014 and Council Regulation (EU) 269/2014 do not prevent economic operators from opening a bank account with a specific bank for payments made under of contracts for the supply of natural materials, gas in the gaseous state, in the currency specified in those contracts for making payments under these contracts, provided that payments in that currency are made under normal business terms, such payments being in of this currency definitively release the economic operator from paying the payment obligations arising from these contracts, without any further action on your part in relation to the payment.
“To this end, these operators should make a clear statement that they intend to fulfill their obligations under existing contracts and consider their contractual obligations in relation to the payment already fulfilled by paying in euros or dollars in accordance with the existing contracts.”
Russia has benefited from the rise in energy prices caused by its invasion of Ukraine.
https://www.independent.ie/business/world/eu-says-companies-can-keep-buying-russian-oil-and-gas-41656326.html The EU says companies can still buy Russian oil and gas