Energy Minister: Bulgaria rejects paying for Russian gas in roubles

Bulgaria has received an official request from Russia’s Gazprom to be paid in roubles, but will not do so, Energy Minister Alexander Nikolov told Bulgarian National Television on April 3.

Nikolov pointed to the official European Commission position, stated on April 1, that those whose gas supply contracts with Russia stipulate payment in euro or dollars should not comply with Russia’s demand to be paid in roubles.

“The contract clearly states the method of payment and it does not include roubles,” Nikolov said.

The EU would not give in to extortion, he said.

He said that if the Russian gas supply was cut off, talks would be held with neighbouring countries about the supply of liquefied natural gas.

Nikolov said that the contract with Gazprom Export was up to December 31 and the supply of Russian gas should not stop before that point.

“I still cannot say with any degree of certainty what will happen after April. Whether there will be a mechanism to pay for gas in euro remains to be seen,” he said.

He said that the gas interconnector with Greece would be ready by July 1.

From July 1, the quantities of Azeri gas that Bulgaria would receive would be much larger, he said.

“That is, we certainly have alternatives and we can certainly cope,” Nikolov said.

Deputy Minister of Energy Plamen Danailov told Bulgarian National Television on April 2 that notwithstanding tensions with Gazprom, gas supplies for April were guaranteed, as consumption would fall.

The construction of the gas connection with Greece was proceeding at an accelerated pace and would be completed in time, he said.

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