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Russia halts natural gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria

Natural gas supplies from Russia to Poland under the Yamal contract have been suspended. That’s what Poland’s oil and gas company PGNiG announced after having received a letter from Russia’s energy giant Gazprom.

Both PGNiG and the country’s natural gas transmission system operator GAZ-SYSTEM are monitoring the situation to meet the customers’ needs and avoid any disruptions.

PGNiG said that thanks to the implementation of the government’s strategy to diversify gas supply sources, the company is already prepared to obtain gas from various directions, including through gas connections on its western and southern borders and the liquefied natural gas (LNG) Terminal in Świnoujście.

“The balance sheet is supplemented by domestic gas production and fuel reserves accumulated in underground gas storage facilities. Currently, the warehouse filling level is around 80 per cent and is significantly higher than in the corresponding period in previous years,” read the press statement.

“Poland has the necessary gas reserves and supply sources to protect our security of supply as we have been effectively independent of Russia for years. […] There will be gas in Polish homes,” said the Minister of Climate and Environment, Anna Moskwa, during a press conference.

In particular, the Minister emphasised that LNG supplies are sufficient to meet the country’s energy demand.

“From 2015 to 2021 the share of LNG imports increased significantly, reaching over 20 per cent of the total natural gas imports to our country in the previous years,” she said.

Nevertheless, in the opinion of PGNiG, Gazprom’s decision is in breach of the Yamal contract and therefore, the company is reserving the right to pursue legal claims.

On his side, the Prime minister of Bulgaria Kiril Petkov said to be in talks with his Greek counterpart Kyriakos Mitsotakis, to monitor the situation and work together to ensure energy security and diversification of supply for both countries.

“We are both confident about the successful completion of the Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria on time,” he said.

As of mid-April, 91 per cent of all construction activities for the IGB pipeline have been completed. The only remaining works are the two gas metering stations near Stara Zagora and Komotini but both are progressing well: GMS Stara Zagora is completed at 87 per cent and the pneumatic testing of the station is expected to begin around the end of April; the gas metering station in Komotini, a significantly larger facility, is ready at the level of 66 per cent and the EPC contractor has committed to complete it by the end of June at the latest.

For the European Commission, the announcement of Gazprom is “unjustified and unacceptable and it shows once again the unreliability of Russia as a gas supplier.”

“We are prepared for this scenario. We are in close contact with all Member States,” said the president of the Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.

“We have been working to ensure alternative deliveries and the best possible storage levels across the EU. Member States have put in place contingency plans for just such a scenario and we worked with them in coordination and solidarity,” she added.

A meeting of the gas coordination group is currently taking place to map out a coordinated EU response.

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