Dutch government to instruct firms not to pay for Russian gas in rubles

The government of the Netherlands will instruct companies not to pay for Russian gas in rubles as Moscow has proposed, as doing so would violate European Union sanctions, a Ministry of Economic Affairs spokesperson said on Thursday.

The spokesperson said the country had adopted that position following a decision by the European Commission on Wednesday and that it was being communicated to energy companies.

“What has changed is that the [European] Commission has concluded yesterday that paying in rubles would violate sanctions, and so would the construction with Gazprombank,” the spokesperson said.

In March, Moscow had proposed that energy buyers open accounts at Gazprombank, where payments in euros or dollars would be converted to rubles.

The Dutch government does not have any contracts with Gazprom itself and had previously indicated that purchasers of gas in the market should do as they saw fit. However, in practice, the government said, that meant they would not pay in rubles.

Dutch companies with Russian gas contracts, including energy company Eneco and government-backed trader GasTerra, have said their contracts with Gazprom were struck in euros and that they will only pay them in euros.

The ministry spokesperson said that while no formal advice has yet been published on the matter, the government was in “close contact” with energy companies and would ensure that sanctions rules are enforced.

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