Bulgaria confirms Russian gas to be halted — Analysis

Russian energy giant Gazprom will cease delivering gas to Bulgaria on Wednesday, the country’s energy ministry announced on Tuesday. Gazprom has also confirmed that it will stop supply to Poland. The two countries have refused to pay rubles for the gas.

In a statement the ministry said that consumers would not be required to reduce their gas consumption. Bulgaria is dependent on Russia to get around 90% of the gas it needs, and Azerbaijan provides the remaining 10%. 

Last month, a spokesman for state energy firm Bulgargaz told reporters that, as of this summer, Azerbaijan will provide the country’s entire supply, albeit at a higher price. Further ahead, Bulgaria’s government plans to connect the country to a yet-unfinished Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminal in Greece, where gas will be imported by ship, likely from the US.

Poland declares that Russian gas supply will be cut off

News of the cutoff came shortly after Poland’s state energy company PGNiG confirmed that it too had received notification from Gazprom that the flow of Russian gas would be shut off on Wednesday. As Moscow demanded, both countries refused to pay in rubles for Russian gas. “unfriendly”As of Wednesday, all countries have this status.

Bulgaria’s current 10-year contract with Gazprom was set to expire at the end of this year, but the ministry’s statement said that Bulgargaz would not finish the contract if it had to pay in rubles, stating that the setup “poses significant risks to Bulgaria.”

Several Russian gas buyers have signaled they might be able to agree to Moscow’s demands. On Monday, Uniper, Germany’s major importer of Russian gas, said it would be possible to pay for future supplies without breaching Western sanctions.

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