Gazprom, the Russian energy behemoth, has blocked gas exports to Poland and Bulgaria due to the nations’ refusal to pay in roubles for supplies. According to the company, services will not be restored until payments are completed in Russian currency. It comes after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered that “unfriendly” countries pay in roubles for their gas.
Poland acknowledged that supplies had been cut off, while Bulgaria stated it was unclear whether they had been cut off.
PGNiG, the Polish state gas company, confirmed that supplies to the country had been halted. In the first quarter of this year, PGNiG purchased 53% of its gas imports from Gazprom.
The suspension was deemed a breach of contract, and the company stated that it will work to restore gas delivery.
Bulgaria, which gets more than 90% of its gas from Gazprom, said it has started steps to discover alternate suppliers but that no curbs on gas usage are necessary at the moment.
On Wednesday, Russia’s senior lawmaker said that stopping gas supplies to Bulgaria and Poland was the appropriate option and that Moscow should do the same with other “unfriendly” countries.
PGNiG said it’s underground gas storage was over 80% filled, and demand was falling as summer approached. Alternative energy sources exist in Poland, notably a liquefied natural gas (LNG) station in Swinoujscie.
On May 1st, a new gas pipeline connection with Lithuania will open, giving Poland access to gas from Lithuania’s LNG facility. Russian gas imports account for more than 40% of the EU’s total natural gas imports. In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, numerous countries have committed to moving away from Russian energy.
Imports of Russian oil, gas, and coal have been completely banned in the United States. Meanwhile, the UK will phase out Russian oil by the end of the year, with gas following as soon as possible, and the EU will cut gas imports by two-thirds.