EU clarifies how companies can legally pay for Russian gas

After Russia demanded international buyers start paying for gas in roubles or face losing their supply, the European Commission notified governments last month that European firms could be allowed to pay for Russian gas without breaking EU sanctions against Moscow provided they fulfilled specific requirements.
Two sources said on Monday that Eni (ENI.MI), an Italian energy company, will establish bank accounts this week to pay for Russian gas after receiving confirmation that doing so will not violate sanctions.
The Commission confirmed its previous advice that EU sanctions do not prevent companies from opening an account at a designated bank, and that companies can pay for Russian gas – as long as they do so in the currency agreed in their existing contracts and declare the transaction completed when that currency is paid – in updated guidance shared with EU countries on Friday and seen by Reuters.
Nearly all of the supply contracts EU companies have with Russian gas giant Gazprom are in euros or dollars.
Earlier on Monday, Germany’s RWE said it had opened an account in Russia to pay for gas in euros.
“Eni is still carrying out its assessments and at the moment has not started any procedure to open two accounts,” an Eni spokesman said.
Eni, one of Europe’s biggest importers of Russian gas, faces a deadline to pay Russia’s state-owned Gazprom around May 20.
Buyers must transfer euros or dollars into an account at private Russian bank Gazprombank under the new Russian payment system, which was implemented in response to broad Western sanctions imposed after Moscow invaded Ukraine.
The bank will then convert the cash into roubles, deposit the proceeds in another foreign buyer’s account, and send the payment to Gazprom in Russian currency.
Italy, which imported approximately 40% of its gas from Russia last year, is attempting to find new sources.


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