The energy ministers of the European Union discussed this Monday (2) a response to the Russian gas supply cut Poland and Bulgaria, as well as alternatives to reduce Russia’s dependence on hydrocarbons, as part of a new sanctions package over the war in Ukraine.
The meeting is the first in the industry since Moscow cut off supplies to these countries, which refused to pay in rubles, a new Russian demand.
“We call for an immediate embargo on Russian oil and gas. The time has come for oil, soon it will be for gas,” said Polish minister Anna Moskwa.
However, Moskwa claims that his country’s reserves will be at 100% capacity “this winter” boreal.
“American gas has started to arrive through Lithuania, and we are going to get gas from Norway through Denmark,” he said.
The European Union claims that contracts concluded by European companies are generally agreed in euros or dollars. That is why the European Commission considers that the conversion mechanism imposed by Moscow justifies the imposition of sanctions.
Based on this understanding, Poland and Bulgaria paid for their purchases in the currency provided for in their contracts with Gazprom and refused to open a second account in rubles. In retaliation, the Russian gas company found that it had not received the payments and suspended deliveries.
At that meeting, ministers must decide whether it is okay to open a second ruble account and whether Gazprom should accept payment in euros or dollars, as stipulated in the contracts, a European source said.
“No company or country intends to open a ruble account,” said European Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson.
“Ministers are also expected to agree on a gradual end to purchases of Russian oil and derivatives, but no decision is expected at the end of this meeting,” French Minister Barbara Pompili said.
Spanish minister Teresa Ribera highlighted that the issue “of sanctions is not the responsibility of energy ministers”.
German head of the same portfolio, Robert Habeck said: “We have significantly reduced our dependence on Russian oil and we are creating the necessary conditions to also support an embargo”.
In 2021, Russia supplied 30% of the oil and 15% of its derivatives, purchased by the European Union.