Russia halts gas supplies to Poland after Warsaw refuses to pay in rubles

Russian energy giant Gazprom will stop gas deliveries to Poland from tomorrow, Polish state energy firm PGNiG has confirmed. The decision was made after Warsaw refused to comply with Moscow’s demands to pay in rubles.

Polish government figures have assured the public that the country has sufficient alternative supplies and gas stores to ensure energy security. It had already been planning to end the import of gas from Russia when its contract with Gazprom finished at the end of this year.

“PGNiG received a letter from Gazprom announcing the complete suspension of deliveries under the Yamal contract,” the Polish company said in a statement. “Currently, deliveries to customers are made in accordance with demand.”

President Vladimir Putin announced in March that Russia would only accept payments in rubles for gas deliveries to certain “unfriendly countries”, including Poland, after Moscow was hit with sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine.

The new payment method entered force at the start of this month, and gas importers had three weeks to adjust, reports Gazeta.pl. However, Poland has maintained that it would stick to the terms originally agreed with Gazprom and refused to pay in rubles.

“Poland is sticking to the arrangements” despite “threats from Russia”, said Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki today, echoing comments by PGNiG’s CEO, Jerzy Kwiecinski, who said that the contractor cannot change the method of the payment at will during the term of the contract.

As Gazprom confirmed that it was cutting off supplies, climate minister Anna Moskwa and minister for state assets Jacek Sasin both assured that Poland’s gas storage facilities are three quarters full and that the country has a number of other sources of gas.

Poland’s gas storage is filled up to over 75% of capacity, one of the highest levels in the EU, according to the Aggregated Gas Storage Inventory compiled by GIE.

In order to replace Russian supplies, Poland has sought to increase imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Qatar and the United States through a terminal in Świnoujście that opened in 2015 and has also almost completed work on the Baltic Pipe, which will bring Norwegian gas to Poland via Denmark.

“Poland has the necessary gas reserves and sources of supplies, which protect our security,” said Moskwa. “For years we have successfully become independent from Russia.”

After the invasion of Ukraine, the Polish government accelerated its plans to wean itself off Russian energy. Last month it announced what it described as “the most radical plan in Europe”, which will entail ending coal, gas and oil imports from Russia this year.

Earlier today, the government also announced that it was introducing sanctions against 50 Russian and Belarusian individuals and entities, including Gazprom as well as other firms and businesspeople associated with the energy sector

Poland unveils “most radical plan in Europe” for ending Russian energy imports

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