After Russia’s announcement last month of a new payment system, Uniper, one of Germany’s top gas importers, will pay for Russian gas deliveries in rubles.
Uniper announced earlier this week that it was ready to start paying for Russian gas in rubles, just after Gazprom told Poland and Bulgaria that gas deliveries to them would be halted due to their refusal to pay in rubles.
Uniper’s action comes despite the European Commission’s request that EU energy customers not pay in rubles for Russian gas. Aljazeera quoted EC President von der Leyen earlier this week saying “Companies with such contracts should not accede to the Russian demands. This would be a breach of the sanctions so a high risk for the companies.”
THE NEW RUSSIAN PAYMENT SYSTEM
According to the system, every non-friendly country buying Russian gas must open two accounts with Gazprombank: one in the foreign currency it wishes to pay in and one in rubles. When a gas payment is due, the buyer puts the required funds in its first Gazprombank account in dollars or euros. The bank then converts the funds into rubles using the Russian central bank’s exchange rates and deposits them in the second account, which is used to make the actual payment.