Highlights

  • Poland’s contract with Gazprom is for 10.2 billion cubic meters per year
  • Russian gas covers about 50% of national consumption.

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Ukraine War: Gas prices soar as Russia cuts supply to parts of Europe

Russian energy giant Gazprom told Poland it will halt gas supplies along the Yamal pipeline

In the latest escalation in the Ukraine Russia war, Moscow has threatened to shut the gas supply to Poland and Bulgaria as nations refuse to pay in Rubles.. Gas prices surged over 15% as traders' worried that Poland would not be the only EU nation to be affected as Russia continues it's demand to be paid in local currency.

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The governments of the two European Union and NATO members said Russian energy giant Gazprom informed them it was halting the gas supplies starting Wednesday.

The suspensions would be the first since Russian President Vladimir Putin said last month that “unfriendly” foreign buyers would have to pay the state-owned Gazprom in rubles instead of dollars and euros.

Around 60 per cent of imports are paid in euros, and the rest in dollars. Putin's demand was apparently intended to help bolster the Russian currency amid the Western sanctions imposed over the war.

European leaders said they would not comply with the rubles requirement, arguing that it violated the terms of contracts and their sanctions against Russia.

Poland's state gas company, PGNiG, said it was informed by Gazprom that its deliveries through the Yamal-Europe pipeline would stop Wednesday at 8 am.

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Later, the Bulgarian Energy Ministry said it was notified that Bulgaria's supplies of Russian gas via the TurkStream pipeline would cease on Wednesday as well.

Poland has been a strong supporter of neighbouring Ukraine during the Russian invasion. It is a transit point for weapons the United States and other Western nations have provided Ukraine.

The Polish government confirmed this week that it was sending tanks to Ukraine's army. On Tuesday, it announced a sanctions list targeting 50 Russian oligarchs and companies, including Gazprom.

The Yamal pipeline carries natural gas from Russia to Poland and Germany, through Belarus. Poland has been receiving some 9 billion cubic meters of Russian gas annually, fulfilling some 45 per cent of the country's needs.

Bulgaria, once one of Moscow's closest allies, cut many of the old ties with Russia after a new liberal government took the reins in the fall and after Putin's military invaded Ukraine. The NATO nation depends on Russia for 90% of it's fuel needs.

EU nations are facing a deadline for the first payments for April supplies to Russia and the Kremlin is standing pat on the demands of payments and contracts.

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