European consumers are adapting to the new gas payment scheme. But there were also those who were dissatisfied. Poland and Bulgaria refused, and as a result, Gazprom stopped deliveries. Warsaw is threatening to sue, demanding compensation. And blue fuel in Europe, gripped by the energy crisis, has again risen sharply in price. Falling volumes, most likely, will have to be filled with gray imports through third parties. But there will not be enough raw materials for everyone, and the EU energy market will soon burst at the seams.
Blocked the pipe
Since April 1, Russia has moved away from dollars and euros in gas trade with unfriendly countries. According to the presidential decree, Gazprombank opened special currency and ruble accounts. The buyer transfers the required amount in the currency specified in the contract, the bank sells it on the Moscow Exchange and credits the rubles to the second account. It is from him that Gazprom receives funds for deliveries.
According to Bloom-berg, ten European clients have opened accounts with Gazprombank, and four have already paid in rubles. But the representative of the Polish government, Piotr Naimsky, declared his unwillingness to adhere to this scheme. The Bulgarian Minister of Energy followed suit, citing “significant risks”: in Sofia, they fear that the Russian bank responsible for the conversion will not comply with the agreements.
Having not received the money, Gazprom suspended deliveries to Bulgargaz and PGNiG from April 27. “Payments for gas supplied from April 1 must be made in rubles using the new details, about which the co-unterparties were informed in a timely manner,” the Russian holding reminded.
And they warned: in case of unauthorized withdrawal of fuel from transit to third countries, supplies will be reduced by the corresponding volume.
Conditions not met
Warsaw was outraged. They intend to seek compensation from Gazprom through the courts. “Of course, Polish firms that have contracts with Russia that are de facto thwarted at the moment will take all the necessary legal steps,” President Andrzej Duda stressed.
However, experts point out that Russia is not violating anything in this case.
“If the money has not been credited to the account, Gazprom, in accordance with the presidential decree, cannot make deliveries. This is not a malicious act, the company must work as it is prescribed. This is a kind of sanction that was introduced in response to unfriendly actions and to protect its own Goodbye to those who have not paid, they will not receive gas,” explains Aleksey Grivach, Deputy General Director of the National Energy Security Fund.
Previously, Warsaw counted the days until the end of the contract with Gazprom, it expires at the end of the year. The Poles have repeatedly stated: we are not going to renew. On the one hand, they hope for LNG supplies from the United States, on the other hand, for the Baltic Pipe pipeline from Norway. It is not clear, however, how to fill it: they did not find sufficient resources.
Poland needs 20-21 billion cubic meters per year. About five – own prey. The LNG terminal in Swinoujscie is able to provide the same amount (so far it is used only by 20%). Gazprom guaranteed 9.8 billion on the Yamal-Europe route. It was assumed that the Baltic Pipe would completely replace the Russian one. However, it is provided only by 33% – 3.5 billion cubic meters per year.
“The Poles have their own schemes in their heads, but something will go wrong, they will turn to Russia again for gas or switch to reverse from Ger-many. Sophia acted recklessly in general. I think by the end of the week we will see the first payment from the Bulgarians, the maximum is within a month,” says Sergey Pikin, director of the Energy Development Fund. In Warsaw, in his opinion, they will stand to the end.
Observers do not rule out that the Bulgarians made such a decision under external pressure. Theoretically, they can also buy gas from other countries that continue to cooperate with Russia, such as Hungary or Greece. They will agree that they acquire more under their contracts and leave part of Bulgaria. A kind of gray parallel import. Since the market is not very large, it is quite possible.
Ruin the market
In the meantime, blue fuel in Europe has risen in price by 21%, to $1,350 per thousand cubic meters. They were allegedly ready for this, and Poland and Bulgaria, as the head of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said, would receive gas from their European neighbors.
However, experts emphasize, such statements are good when it comes to minor redistribution. If others join Warsaw and Sofia (and, for example, Greece has already called the demand to pay in rubles blackmail), the already difficult situation with the physical supply of the EU will worsen. And blue fuel quotes, which have been at a critically high level for many months, will go up, destroying the gas and energy markets.
The French have frozen electricity prices for the pre-election period. For domestic suppliers, this is a huge loss: they bought raw materials for more than they sold.
“The cash gap of European companies has reached 100 billion euros, and these funds need to be found. If supplies from Russia are limited, there will be even more, because prices will continue to rise due to shortages. , but even here it’s bad luck: solid fuel has also risen in price, and taking into account the embargo, this is not an option to patch Trishkin’s caftan,” says Alexey Grivach.
The German Central Bank, analysts and industry representatives are sounding the alarm: if Russian supplies stop, the EU’s largest economy will especially suffer. This will hit all of Europe, dragging it into recession.