The battle for gas.. the ruble wins and the evidence is 54 foreign companies

The battle for gas.. the ruble wins and the evidence is 54 foreign companies
The battle for gas.. the ruble wins and the evidence is 54 foreign companies

The Russian ruble has subjected about 54 foreign energy companies linked to contracts with the Russian company "Gazprom", as these customers opened accounts to make their payments in Russian currency instead of euros and dollars.

On Thursday, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said that about half of Gazprom's customers of foreign companies have opened accounts in rubles to make payments.

He explained that 54 companies linked to contracts with Gazprom Export agreed to open accounts in rubles, adding that according to the figures, about half of our gas customers have opened accounts in our banks for hard currencies in preparation for converting them into rubles.

Last month, Russian President Vladimir Putin shocked European governments and markets by demanding that gas be paid in rubles through a complex mechanism that involved setting up two linked bank accounts to handle the foreign exchange transaction.

Prompted by some gas buyers meeting Moscow's demand to pay in the Russian currency, the ruble rose on Thursday against the dollar and rebounded toward a five-year high against the euro.

The ruble has become the best performing currency this year despite a severe economic crisis, with it being artificially bolstered by restrictions Russia imposed in late February to protect its financial sector after it sent tens of thousands of soldiers to Ukraine.

Despite the warning of the European Union Commission that Russia's mechanism for imposing the ruble constitutes a circumvention of sanctions, stressing the necessity of dispensing with Russian oil, some countries of the bloc rushed to maintain their supplies of Russian gas by opening accounts in rubles.

On Tuesday, the Italian oil giant Eni announced the opening of an account in euros and rubles with "Gazprom Bank".

German Economy Minister Robert Habeck also stressed that Germany cannot now impose a ban on natural gas supplies from Russia, because that would create economic problems, including high prices and disruption of trade chains.

As a result, the European Union intends to invest 300 billion euros to dispense with Russian fossil fuels, to end dependence on Russian oil and gas.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Wednesday that the European Union intends to mobilize investments worth 300 billion euros by 2030 to end its dependence on Russian oil and gas, according to "Reuters".

German economist Achim Troeger warned of the repercussions of the Russian gas embargo on his country's economy, and said that imposing such a ban would lead to a deep recession and collapse of the German economy.

He pointed out that stopping Russian gas supplies could lead to the loss of 500,000 jobs in Germany, and would also plunge the country into a spiral of inflation, according to German NTV television.

Last week, Ukraine said it would suspend the flow of gas passing through its territory through a transit point that carries nearly a third of the fuel transported from Russia to Europe, and blamed Moscow for the move, saying it would move the flows elsewhere.

Ukraine remains a major transit route for Russian gas to Europe, even after the Russian attack on its territory.

But Gazprom, which has a monopoly on Russian gas exports via pipelines, said it was technologically impossible to divert all volumes to the Sudga connection point, further to the west, as Ukraine's Jitso suggested.

The ruble's decision has economic objectives, including increasing the demand for the Russian currency, and it has a symbolic meaning that comes in the context of Russia's attempt to break the dominance of the dollar and the euro, said Vladimir Igor, a Russian economist in the field of energy security.

He added to "Sky News Arabia", that the ruble's move was made to remind the Europeans of their degree of dependence on Russian resources, especially gas, because they persist in imposing sanctions and at the same time claim their readiness to give up Russian gas.

Regarding the Ukrainian decision, he asserts that it may cause a new gas crisis at the European level, adding: Maybe a crisis similar to what happened in 2006 and 2009, in what is known as the first and second gas wars, endangered fuel supplies to the European Union, may await us.

The European continent depends on Russian gas supplies for more than 40 percent of its energy needs.

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