Russia may cut gas to Finland soon: energy group
HELSINKI, May 17, 2022 (BSS/AFP) - Russia may cut gas supplies to Finland soon over the Nordic country's refusal to pay Gazprom in rubles, Finnish state-owned Gasum said on Tuesday.
Gasum said it would take its dispute with Gazprom Export to arbitration, a move that risks angering neighbouring Russia further as Helsinki prepares to submit its NATO membership bid on Wednesday.
"Gasum considers there to be an increased risk of the natural gas supply ... being halted, and consequently the import of natural gas from Russia to Finland might end," it said in a statement.
On Sunday, Russia suspended electricity supplies to Finland overnight after its energy firm RAO Nordic claimed payment arrears, although the shortfall was quickly replaced.
Natural gas accounts for about eight percent of Finland's energy consumption, most of which comes from Russia.
In April, Gazprom Export demanded that future payments in the supply contract be made in rubles instead of euros.
Gasum rejected the demand.
The Finnish group said it was prepared for the possibility of a cut, and would "aim to ensure the availability of natural gas for its Finnish customers through the Balticconnector gas pipeline."
However, it noted that "constraints on transmission capacity can make this challenging".
Gasum chief executive Mika Wiljanen said the company "had no choice but to take the contract to arbitration."
Moscow has repeatedly warned Finland that any NATO membership application would be "a grave mistake with far-reaching consequences."
Several countries which have refused to pay Gazprom in rubles in order to not support Russia during the war in Ukraine, such as Poland and Bulgaria, have had their gas supplies cut by Russia.
In the rest of the EU, some payments are due in mid-May when other cuts are expected.
Italian energy giant Eni said Tuesday it was opening accounts in euros and in rubles to fulfil payments due imminently for the supply of Russian gas. It said the move does not violate European sanctions but meets Moscow's demands.