Russian gas company Gazprom said pipelines continue to pump gas westward, despite fears that Russian gas shipments to Europe could be halted in a stalemate due to European sanctions and claims to be exempt from payment in rubles.
Gazprom spokesman Sergey Kupriyanov said in statements carried by Russia’s Interfax news agency that 104.4 million cubic meters of gas had been pumped to Europe. This is the maximum daily amount allowed by current contracts.
This means that gas is still flowing through Ukrainian territory, despite the Russian invasion of the country which began last February due to Russian allegations of genocide against Russians in the country.
It also means that shipments will continue, despite threats from the Kremlin to stop the flow if gas payments are not made in rubles. Western sanctions resulting from the invasion hurt the Russian economy and caused the ruble to lose value. Forcing companies to pay in rubles will help strengthen the Russian currency.
But the West opposed the request. A new proposal allowing rubles to be paid to the Bank of Russia came into effect on Friday, but it is unclear whether it was Western buyers who opened such accounts.
Later, the Russian energy giant Gazprom announced that it was abandoning its German subsidiary, Gazprom Germania, which surprised analysts. “Gazprom Group has terminated its stake in Gazprom Germania LLC and all of its assets, including Gazprom Marketing and Trade,” the Russian giant announced via Telegram on Friday, March 31.
The group did not give further details. Gazprom Germany has yet to comment on the matter. It is not yet clear whether this will affect the German market.
Note that “Gazprom Germania” – according to its data – is a 100% subsidiary of the Russian energy group Gazprom.
The German Gazprom, in turn, owns other companies in the German gas sector, including the gas trading company “Fingaz” and the gas storage company “Astra”, as well as a minority stake in the Gazcade gas transportation.
Meanwhile, the International Energy Agency said it would release crude oil reserves for the second time to ease market fallout from Russia’s war on Ukraine.
The agency said representatives of 31 IAEA member states acknowledged this at an emergency meeting in Paris on Friday. The agency will announce the amount of crude oil that will be withdrawn early in the week.
Initially, the agency published 62.7 million barrels of crude a month ago. The total stocks of the member countries of the Agency amount to 1.5 billion barrels.
The agency said major disruptions in Russian oil production could lead to a global oil supply emergency. The global oil market remains under pressure, leading to increased price volatility. The IEA Board of Directors recommends that governments and consumers step up their efforts to save energy.
Russian production of oil and gas condensates fell to 11.01 million barrels per day in March from an average of 11.08 million barrels per day in February. Two sources and Refinitiv Eikon data, according to Reuters, said production fell on March 31 to 10.6 million barrels per day, the lowest daily level since September 2021.
The drop in Russian oil production coincides with the disruption of the country’s oil and product exports, as European customers are reluctant to do business with the country due to Western sanctions.
Russian oil production is down as the OPEC+ deal allows the country to increase production per month. Loading of Urals oil from Russia’s Baltic ports was 5% lower than expected in March due to shipment cancellations. India has become one of the main buyers of Russian oil after Western sanctions.
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