- Russia applies roubles-for-gas scheme for ‘unfriendly’ states
- Latvian official says little impact expected
- EU has agreed to curb gas use this winter
July 30 (Reuters) – Russian gas producer Gazprom (GAZP.MM) said on Saturday it had stopped sending gas to Latvia after accusing it of violating supply conditions, a move the Baltic country said would have little impact on its gas supplies.
Russia has already cut off gas supplies to Poland, Bulgaria, Finland, Netherlands and Denmark, which refused to pay for gas in line with an order by President Vladimir Putin requiring rouble accounts to be set up in a Russian bank.
Russia has also halted gas sales to Shell Energy Europe in Germany.
In a statement on Saturday, Gazprom did not specify which gas supply conditions Latvia, a European Union and NATO military alliance member bordering Russia, had allegedly violated.
Edijs Saicans, deputy state secretary on energy policy at the Latvian Economy Ministry, said Gazprom’s move would have little effect given that Latvia has already decided to ban Russian gas imports from Jan. 1, 2023.
“We do not see any major impacts from such a move,” he said.
Gazprom’s announcement came a day after Latvian energy firm Latvijas Gaze said it was buying gas from Russia and paying in euros rather than the roubles required when trading with Gazprom.
A spokesperson for Latvijas Gaze, however, said on Friday that it was not purchasing gas from Gazprom. Latvijas Gaze would not name its Russian provider, citing business confidentiality.
Latvijas Gaze did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Saturday following Gazprom’s announcement.
EU countries agreed on Tuesday to an emergency regulation to curb their gas use this winter, preparing for a winter of uncertain supplies from Russia.
In March, Putin said the world’s largest natural gas producer would require countries designated as “unfriendly” in their stance on Moscow’s actions in Ukraine to pay for piped gas in roubles.
The European Commission – which has warned that complying with Putin’s order could breach EU sanctions on Moscow – has urged companies to keep paying in the currency agreed in their contracts with Gazprom. Most are in euros or dollars.