Austria’s oil and gas conglomerate OMV said on Friday that it had opened an account with Gazprombank to pay for Russian gas imports, insisting that the scheme does not violate the current EU embargo against Moscow. Austria imports some 80% of its gas from Russia.
“We have implemented a payment process that does not violate sanctions and ensures timely payments for gas supplies,” an OMV spokesman told Reuters on Friday evening. “We consider our payment obligations fulfilled with the transfer of the amount in euros.”
Facing a ban on trading in euros and dollars, Moscow introduced a new mechanism for gas payments from “unfriendly” countries at the end of March. Countries that imposed sanctions against Russia have to set up accounts with Gazprombank, where the payments in the currency of their choice will be converted to rubles for the final payment. As of May 12, a total of 20 European companies have opened such accounts.
Some, such as Finland, have refused – and will be cut off by Saturday as a result, Moscow has confirmed.