27 Apr 2022 09:05

Bulgaria refuses to pay Gazprom under new scheme, expects gas supplies to be halted on Wed morning

MOSCOW. April 27 (Interfax) - Gazprom Export LLC has notified Bulgargaz that gas supplies will be halted on April 27, the Bulgarian Energy Ministry said on Tuesday.

At the same time, "the Bulgarian party has completely fulfilled its obligations and made all payments required under the present contract on time, strictly and in accordance with its clauses," the statement said.

The Energy Ministry noted that according to Bulgargaz, "the new two-stage payment procedure proposed by Russia does not comply with the existing contract until the end of this year and poses substantial risks for Bulgaria, in particular, making payments without receiving any gas supplies from the Russian side."

The Energy Ministry, Bulgarian Energy Holding, Bulgargaz and Bulgartransgaz have taken steps to set up alternative mechanisms for natural gas supplies and to resolve the situation. Bulgarian officials assured that no restrictive measures are currently required for consumption in Bulgaria.

As reported, on March 31, President Vladimir Putin signed the decree titled On the Special Procedure for Foreign Buyers to Comply with Obligations to Russian Suppliers of Natural Gas. The document stipulates that payments for Russian pipeline gas supplied after April 1, 2022, to foreign counterparties specified in the decree must be remitted exclusively in Russian rubles.

For this purpose, special ruble and forex K accounts are created for foreign buyers in the authorized financial institute, Gazprombank . A foreign buyer pays for gas in the currency of the contract, and Gazprombank sells it at the Moscow Exchange and transfers the rubles to Gazprom. At that moment, the obligation to pay for gas is deemed fulfilled.

If this condition is not met, supplies are halted.