Gazprom suspends gas supplies to Bulgaria, Poland

TEHRAN, Apr. 27 (MNA) – Russia's energy giant Gazprom completely suspended gas supplies to Bulgaria and Poland after they refuse to pay in rubles.

"Gazprom has completely suspended gas supplies to Bulgargaz (Bulgaria) and PGNiG (Poland) for failing to pay in rubles… in accordance with the procedure established by the decree [issued by Russian President Vladimir Putin]", the company said, according to Sputnik. 

The energy giant added that it will reduce transit to third countries if Bulgaria and Poland begin to withdraw gas from the transit flow without authorization.

Polish state gas company PGNiG said in a statement on Tuesday that it had been informed all gas deliveries along the Yamal-Europe pipeline would be halted from Wednesday morning.

"On April 26, Gazprom informed PGNiG of its intention to entirely suspend deliveries under the Yamal contract at the beginning of the contract day on April 27," the statement read.

The Yamal–Europe pipeline is a natural gas distribution system running across four countries including Russia, Belarus, Poland and Germany.

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

PGNiG said it was prepared to obtain gas from various directions, adding that its underground gas storage was almost 80% full.

Poland's Climate Minister Anna Moskwa also affirmed that there would be no shortage of gas in Poland despite the Russian halt of exports.

"Poland has the necessary gas reserves and sources of supply that protect our security - we have been effectively independent of Russia for years," she said in a post on her Twitter account.

"There will be no shortage of gas in Polish homes," the minister said.

Earlier in the day, the Bulgarian Energy Ministry said in a statement that Gazprom had also told Bulgaria's state-owned gas company Bulgargaz that it would shut off gas supplies starting Wednesday.

The ministry said it had fulfilled all its contractual obligations with Gazprom, adding that the proposed new payment scheme was in breach of the arrangement.

"At present, no restrictive measures have been imposed on gas consumption in Bulgaria," the ministry added.

Bulgaria has held initial talks to import liquefied natural gas through neighboring Turkey and Greece.

Last month, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree for a new procedure for the payment of gas by "unfriendly countries." He said Russia would halt its gas contracts with European buyers if they did not pay in rubles, adding that the currency switch was meant to strengthen his country's sovereignty.

The ultimatum came amid heightened tensions with the West over Russia's attack on Ukraine.

About one-third of Europe's gas is supplied by Russia.

ZZ/PR

News Code 186182

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