European Union (EU) companies can circumvent Russia’s requirement to receive gas payments in rubles without violating sanctions if they pay in currencies like euros or dollars, which are then converted into Russian currency, the European Commission said on Friday, April 22.
On Thursday, April 21, the European Commission sent out a consultation document to the union’s member states, saying that there are options to allow companies to continue paying for gas legally.
“EU companies can ask their Russian counterparts to fulfil contractual obligations in the same way as before the adoption of the decree [on paying for gas in rubles, Ed], that is, by paying the amount due in euros or dollars,” the document says.
However, the procedure for providing exceptions to the decree’s requirements is unclear.
Before making payments, EU operators could also make a clear statement that they consider their contractual obligations fulfilled when depositing euros or dollars with Gazprombank.
“It would be advisable to obtain confirmation from the Russian side that this procedure is possible in accordance with the rules of the decree,” the recommendations say.
It is clarified that companies must adhere to the currency agreed in contracts with Gazprom, 97% of which are denominated in euros or dollars. The EU sanctions regime does not prevent companies from opening accounts with Gazprombank or interacting with the bank to find a solution to the situation. At the same time, the procedure for derogating from the EU sanctions measures is not yet clear.
Hungary, Slovakia and Moldova announced the possibility of paying in rubles for Russian gas.
On April 21, the UK Financial Sanctions Administration (OFSI) issued a general license to make gas payments to Gazprombank, and its subsidiaries, under a contract concluded before the license date, to provide gas for use in the European Union.