Moscow (The Times Groupe)- Russia’s Gazprom has threatened to cut off its natural gas flow to Denmark’s Orsted and Shell Energy Europe starting Wednesday over their refusal to pay in rubles in the wake of the Ukraine war.
“On 31 May, Gazprom Export has informed Orsted that the company will halt the supply of gas to Orsted on 1 June 2022 at 6:00 CEST,” Orsted said in a statement.
Gazprom Export has maintained its demand that Orsted pay for gas supplies in rubles, but Orsted reiterated that the company is under no obligation to do so under the contract, so it will continue to pay in euros.
“”We at Orsted stand firm in our refusal to pay in rubles, and we have been preparing for this scenario so we still expect to be able to supply gas to our customers. This situation shows how essential it is that the EU become independent of Russian gas by accelerating the rollout of renewable energy,” Orsted CEO Mads Nipper said.
Orsted said it is prepared for the situation, and it will remain in close contact with authorities.
Gazprom also reported that Shell Energy Europe failed to pay for supplies of gas to Germany, and that 1.2 billion cubic meters of gas were provided to Germany under the agreement between the two companies.
At the end of April, Gazprom halted gas flows to Poland and Bulgaria, saying it would keep supplies switched off until the two countries pay in rubles. Natural gas supplies to Finland were also cut on May 21. Earlier Tuesday, natural gas flow to the Netherlands was stopped due to breach of payment.
The ruble payment requirement was implemented under pressure from international sanctions over the war in Ukraine, particularly from the West.
At least 4,113 civilians have been killed and 4,916 injured in Ukraine since the war began on Feb. 24, with the real death toll expected to be much higher.
According to the UN refugee agency (UNHCR), more than 6.8 million people have fled to other countries and more than 7.7 million have been internally displaced.