Russia’s gas supplies to Eastern Europe are looking highly uncertain after the country’s state-run gas giant Gazprom told Poland and Bulgaria that it would halt supplies.


Russia accused of ‘blackmail’ after halting gas supplies to two European countries- oil and gas 360

Source: CNBC

The move comes after both countries refused Moscow’s recent demand to pay for gas supplies in rubles, but also coincides with a sharp rise in tensions between Western allies and Russia as the war in Ukraine continues into a third month.

Early Wednesday morning, Gazprom released a statement saying it had halted supplies to Poland and Bulgaria — both heavy consumers of Russian gas — due to payments not being made in the Russian currency. It said supplies would resume once these payments were made.

In the statement, Gazprom warned both countries against any “unauthorized withdrawal” of gas supplies flowing through their territories.

“Bulgaria and Poland are transit states. In case of unauthorized withdrawal of Russian gas from transit volumes to third countries, supplies for transit will be reduced by this volume.”

Natural gas prices surged in Europe on Wednesday morning. The Dutch wholesale gas contract for the day-ahead, a benchmark for Europe, rose 24.2% to 115.75 euros ($122.40) per megawatt hour, while the U.K. natural gas price for June rose around 20 pence to 222 pence ($2.78) a therm.

Forewarned, forearmed

Poland’s state-owned oil and gas company PGNiG said Gazprom had informed it on Tuesday that it would halt supplies that are delivered to the country via the Yamal pipeline, starting Wednesday morning.

But after dropping to zero earlier Wednesday, physical gas supplies appeared to edge up again, data from the European Union network of gas transmission operators showed, according to Reuters. Poland, however, said the supplies had indeed been halted.

Bulgaria has not confirmed that its supplies have been stopped but its prime minister, Kiril Petkov, described the move as “blackmail” and said any halt in supplies would be a breach of contract. Bulgaria’s energy minister, Alexander Nikolov, said supplies to customers were guaranteed for at least a month ahead, Reuters reported.

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