Denmark’s largest energy company has announced that Russia cut off its gas supply on Wednesday, June 1, because it refused to pay in rubles, the latest escalation over European energy amid the war in Ukraine.
This comes after Russia halted natural gas supplies to Finland, Poland, and Bulgaria for refusing a demand to pay in rubles. Just on Tuesday, May 31, the tap was turned off to the Netherlands.
On Wednesday, June 1, Danish energy company Ørsted confirmed gas supply from Russia has been cut off, adding that it still expects to be able to serve its customers.
“We stand firm in our refusal to pay in rubles, and we’ve been preparing for this scenario,” Ørsted CEO Mads Nipper said. “The situation underpins the need of the EU becoming independent of Russian gas by accelerating the build-out of renewable energy.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin declared in the wake of Western sanctions that “unfriendly foreign buyers” needed to open two accounts with state-owned Gazprombank, one to pay in euros and dollars as specified in contracts and another in rubles.
“This is totally not acceptable,” Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said. “This is a kind of blackmailing from Putin. We continue to support Ukraine, and we distance ourselves from the crimes that Putin and Russia commit.”
The Danish Energy Agency said that in the first 18 weeks of 2022, Russian gas amounted to approximately 25% of EU gas consumption. The agency said that Denmark losing its supply would not have immediate consequences
“We still have gas in Denmark, and consumers can still have gas delivered,” Kristoffer Böttzauw, head of the Danish Energy Agency. said in a statement Monday. “But we have plans ready if the situation worsens.”
”Since there is no pipeline going directly from Russia to Denmark, Russia will not be able to directly cut off gas supplies to Denmark, which still will be able to get it, Ørsted said.
”Russia’s move means that Denmark must purchase more gas on the European gas market, the company added.