The Russian state-owned company Gazprom will no longer supply gas to the Danish supplier Ørsted and Shell Energy Europe from this Wednesday. Germany is also affected. Ørsted and Shell have informed Gazprom Export that they will not pay the bills in rubles – as requested by Moscow – the Russian company announced on Tuesday.
Shell has stated that gas deliveries to Germany will not be paid for in the Russian currency, Gazprom Export said. The maximum delivery volume per year under the contract is 1.2 billion cubic meters of gas. Because no money had flowed for the month of April, deliveries would now be stopped.
When asked, Shell confirmed that it had not agreed to Gazprom’s new payment terms. “We are working on continuing to supply our customers in Europe with gas through our diverse options,” it said in a statement. Shell continues to work on a gradual withdrawal from Russian hydrocarbons. The company did not say exactly how much gas was affected by the delivery stop.
The Federal Network Agency, as the responsible supervisory authority for gas supply in Germany, said on request: “The security of supply is currently guaranteed. According to our information, only small quantities are affected, which can be procured elsewhere. We are monitoring the situation very closely.”
As reported by Ørsted, Gazprom has informed the Danish group that gas deliveries will be stopped at 6 a.m. on Wednesday morning. Gazprom has maintained its demand that the gas be paid for in rubles – but Ørsted is not contractually obliged to do so and will continue to pay in euros.
The situation underscores the need for the EU to become independent of Russian gas through the accelerated expansion of renewable energies, said CEO Mads Nipper.
Supply bottlenecks are not expected in Denmark. According to Ørsted, Russia cannot directly cut off gas supplies to Denmark because there is no gas pipeline leading directly from the energy superpower to the country. Denmark is therefore still able to obtain gas. However, this would then have to be purchased on a larger scale on the European gas market.
Kremlin chief Putin introduced the new payment system in response to Western sanctions in the wake of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. The procedure stipulates that customers open a so-called K account with the Russian Gazprombank. There they can still pay their bills in euros or dollars, the bank converts the money into rubles and transfers it to Gazprom.
The EU Commission does not consider the sanctions to have been violated as long as the companies transfer the amounts in euros or dollars – as stipulated in the contracts – to an account with Gazprom, and the transaction is then deemed to be completed. Importantly, the Central Bank of Russia is not involved in the purchase transaction as it is subject to sanctions.
The Dutch gas company GasTerra announced on Monday that Gazprom would not deliver two billion cubic meters of gas to the Netherlands. Energy supplies had previously been stopped for Poland, Bulgaria and Finland.
Germany’s largest importer of Russian natural gas, Uniper, said at the request of the German Press Agency on Tuesday that the payment method for gas deliveries from Russia “like other German and European companies” had changed.