The ministry bans energy companies from paying for gas in rubles

That’s what Energy and Climate Secretary Rob Jetten says. Yesterday, the European Commission (EC) already decided that paying for gas in rubles is a violation of sanctions. The Dutch government agrees.

And that applies to new contracts. GasTerre’s contract with Gazprom expires in October and the ministry now explicitly says: you must not sign a new contract with Gazprom as long as it states that you must pay in rubles.

Deliveries are continuing for now

“We will not be blackmailed by Russia, we are sticking to the gas contract and we continue to pay in euros and dollars,” Jetten said. “We will see if Russia will have consequences. This is a question that worries us all, but where only President Putin knows the answer. We are preparing for all scenarios, but we see that deliveries will continue as usual for now.”

Putin demands that gas buyers open two accounts with Gazprombank, one in rubles and one in foreign currency. In addition, Gazprombank is responsible for converting currency and transferring payments in rubles.

“Russia’s central bank is involved in this, and according to the EC, it is violating sanctions,” Jetten said. “We are drawing this firm line on the basis of the Commission’s legal advice.”

According to the Commission’s analysis, Russia would gain complete control over the timing of transactions and the release of the buyer from obligations through the central bank. Russia could also manipulate the exchange rate to gain an advantage.

Crossing the border for other countries

Russia’s state-owned Gazprom’s gas exports to the Netherlands are relatively small, according to Bloomberg: about 4 percent in the first half of last year. Still, the refusal of Dutch companies to pay in rubles could persuade other countries to follow suit.

The decision on how to pay for the supply ultimately rests with the companies that buy gas from Russia. They are in a difficult position because European companies must comply with sanctions. In practice, this means that Dutch companies do not pay in rubles, which energy companies already indicated to RTL Z in March.

Leave a Comment