In a dramatic escalation of tensions with the West, Russian energy giant Gazprom informed Poland’s state-run gas company PGNiG that it will “completely suspend” gas supplies along the Yamal pipeline from Wednesday morning, PGNiG said in a statement on Tuesday.
“On April 26, Gazprom informed PGNiG of its intention to completely suspend deliveries under the Yamal contract at the beginning of the contract day on April 27,” the statement read.
The news sent US natural gas futures up about 3% on Tuesday.
Gazprom did not confirm that the supply of Russian gas to Poland had been stopped, the Russian state news agency TASS reported on Tuesday, referring to the company’s spokesman Sergey Kupriyanov.
However, Kupriyanov stressed that Poland must pay for Russian gas supplies in rubles, a claim that Warsaw has rejected.
Russia last month issued an ultimatum to “unfriendly” nations to pay for their energy in rubles from April 1 or risk being cut off from vital supplies. But the gas flow has continued. The Kremlin said payments for gas delivered at the time of its announcement would fall in late April or early May, which is why Russia did not immediately shut off the gas flow to Europe.
Putin’s major threat has sent shock waves through Europe, which can not keep its economy running long without Russian energy. Moscow sent a clear signal that at some point it could reduce natural gas flows – perhaps to deter or respond to even tougher Western sanctions over the war in Ukraine.
PGNiG said it is ready to procure gas from various directions, including through gas connections at the western and southern borders and the liquefied natural gas terminal (LNG) in the northwestern Polish port city of Swinoujscie.
It also said that its underground gas storage is almost 80% full.
“The balance sheet is supplemented by domestic gas production and fuel reserves accumulated in underground gas storage facilities. At present, the stock filling level is around 80% and is significantly higher than in the corresponding period in previous years,” it added.
The Polish gas company said that all deliveries to customers are currently carried out according to their needs, adding that the company is monitoring the situation and is prepared for different scenarios.
Poland’s climate minister Anna Moskwa confirmed on Tuesday that there will be no shortage of gas in Poland despite Russia’s export halt.
“Poland has the necessary gas reserves and sources of supply to protect our security – we have in fact been independent of Russia for years,” she said in a tweet.
“There will be no shortage of gas in Polish homes,” the minister wrote.