EXCLUSIVE German gas importer VNG will transfer euros to Russia for payment

DUESSELDORF, May 9 (Reuters) – Germany’s VNG (VNG.UL) will in future transfer euro payments for Russian gas to Gazprombank (GZPRI.MM) and expects no problems with a conversion in rubles, he said Monday during a meeting with top Moscow officials. claims under a new payment scheme.

VNG’s first detailed comments on the matter come as European buyers of Russian gas must navigate a new set of rules imposed by Moscow for paying for its most valuable commodity, including a demand for payment in rubles through an elaborate system.

European gas buyers fear that the adoption of the new measures, under which they must open accounts with Gazprombank for future payments, would violate the sanctions law and that their rejection could cause major disruptions in supply in gas.

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VNG, majority-owned by German regional utility EnBW (EBKG.DE), said it was taking all necessary measures, in accordance with the applicable sanctions law, to continue to ensure supply and therefore economic stability. in Germany.

“We will pay the invoice amount, which will continue to be denominated in euros, to Gazprombank’s accounts in accordance with the established procedure, so that timely payment to our supplier is ensured on our part,” VNG said in a statement. a press release sent by e-mail.

“We also assume that the conversion to rubles will not cause any difficulties. At least the account opening went smoothly.”

The company did not respond to written follow-up questions asking whether it had opened two accounts with Gazprombank, one for euro payments and the other for ruble conversion.

Along with Uniper (UN01.DE) and RWE (RWEG.DE), VNG is one of the main German importers of Russian gas.

EnBW said 20% of the 495 terawatt hours of gas purchased last year came from direct deals with Russian suppliers, adding that those volumes would decline from 2023.

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Reporting by Tom Kaeckenhoff and Christoph Steitz in Düsseldorf Editing by Matthew Lewis

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