COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) – Denmark’s largest energy company said Russia was cutting off gas supplies on Wednesday because it refused to pay in rubles, the latest escalation of European energy amid the war in Ukraine.
Earlier, Russia stopped supplying natural gas to Finland, Poland and Bulgaria for refusing to pay in rubles. And on Tuesday they turned off the tap in the Netherlands.
Danish energy company Ørsted said it still expects to be able to serve its customers.
“We firmly refuse to pay in rubles, and we are preparing for this scenario,” said Oersted CEO Mads Nipper. “The situation reinforces the need for the EU to become independent of Russian gas by accelerating the use of renewable energy sources.”
After Western sanctions, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that “unfriendly foreign buyers” need to open two accounts with the state-owned Gazprombank, one for payments in euros and dollars, as stipulated in the contracts, and the other in rubles.
The Danish Energy Agency reported that in the first 18 weeks of 2022, Russian gas accounted for about 25% of gas consumption in the EU. The agency said Denmark’s loss of supplies would not have immediate consequences
“Denmark still has gas, and consumers can still supply gas,” said Christopher Betzew, head of the Danish Energy Agency. a statement said Monday. “But we have ready-made plans if the situation worsens.”
As there is no gas pipeline going directly from Russia to Denmark, Russia will not be able to directly cut off gas supplies to Denmark, which will still be able to get it, Oersted said. The move by Russia means Denmark should buy more gas from the European gas market, the company added.
Denmark has been a net exporter of natural gas for many years, but since its Taira field in the North Sea has been reconstructed, the country currently imports about 75% of its gas consumption through Germany. The Tyra deposit is expected to reopen in mid-2023.
In Denmark, about 380,000 households use natural gas for heating with gas boilers, the agency said.
On Tuesday, EU leaders agreed to cut about 90% of all Russian oil imports over the next six months. The bloc of 27 countries counts on Russia to receive 25% of oil and 40% of natural gas.
Follow the coverage of the war in Ukraine in the AP at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine