Italian energy giant Eni is set to pay for its natural gas purchase from the Russian company Gazprom this month, even if the planned payments in euros are converted into Russian rubles.
According to Bloomberg’s report, citing sources, this move came after Gazprom sent a letter to its European customers assuring them that they could continue to make their payments without being caught in the sanctions imposed on Russia by the European Union (EU) because the Central Bank of Russia, which is subject to European sanctions, is not a direct party to these transactions.
Gazprom said in its letter that there will be transparency in cash flows in the new system and that third parties will not interfere in payments.
As Russian President Vladimir Putin reported in March, countries that buy natural gas from Russia are expected to open an account in Gazprombank, make their payments to this bank, and then convert these funds into rubles on the Moscow Stock Exchange.
Sources said the Eni company has not yet opened a bank account in Russian rubles, but has taken legal steps to prepare for opening an account in Russian currency if necessary.
European companies are trying to find a way to continue buying Russian gas after Moscow demanded payment in rubles.
The European Commission stressed that such a move would violate sanctions.
Supplies to Poland and Bulgaria have already been cut off, and other countries’ payment deadlines are approaching.