Austria opens a ruble account to buy Russian gas

The Austrian oil and gas group OMV also stressed that the plan does not violate the current EU embargo against Moscow. Austria imports about 80% of its gas from Russia.

“We have implemented a payment process that does not violate sanctions and ensures timely payment for gas supplies.” an OMV spokesman told Reuters on the evening of 5/20.

Austria opens a ruble account to buy Russian gas - 1

The dependence on Russian gas exposes European countries to gas in the enforcement of sanctions.

Faced with a ban on transactions in euros and dollars, Moscow introduced a new mechanism for gas payments from “unfriendly” countries at the end of March. Accordingly, the countries imposed the order. sanctions imposed on Russia must set up an account with Gazprombank, where payments in the currency of their choice will be converted to rubles. As of May 12, a total of 20 European companies have opened such accounts.

With the refusal to open a payment account in rubles, Finland will have its supply cut off from May 24.

Poland, the Netherlands, Denmark, Bulgaria, the UK, Slovenia and the Baltic states are on the list of countries that openly reject Moscow’s new payment mechanism. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia will not provide free natural gas to countries that refuse to respect the new payment mechanism.

“Russia is clearly not going to give any country free gas“, said spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

Earlier, the EU asked energy companies not to comply with Russia’s requirements for payment in rubles. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that payment in rubles without notice in the contract is a violation of EU sanctions.

While the US has urged EU countries to switch from Russian imports to US liquefied natural gas (LNG), for many countries this is not an easy choice because LNG imported from the US is anhydrous. rare and expensive.

“Austria is 80% dependent on Russian gas. Imposing a gas embargo is currently not possible for us, nor for some other countries. We cannot do without Russian gas.” Austrian Energy Minister Leonore Gewessler said in an interview last month.

Anti-Russian sanctions have sent the cost of living across the EU soaring, with Austria recording its highest inflation in 40 years.

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