Germany’s third-largest gas importer, VNG, has agreed to Moscow’s new ruble-based gas payment scheme and opened the necessary accounts with Russia’s Gazprombank to transfer payments, the company said in an emailed statement to Reuters on Monday.
“We will pay the invoice amount, which will continue to be denominated in euros, into the accounts at Gazprombank in accordance with the planned procedure, so that timely payment to our supplier is ensured on our part,” the statement read.
The company added that it expects the conversion into rubles to not cause any difficulties, noting that “the opening of the account went completely smoothly.”
Russia’s new ruble-based gas payment mechanism was introduced on March 31 amid Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine and the resulting Western sanctions. The news puzzled Russian gas buyers, who feared they would be expected to pay for the commodity in rubles. However, it was later clarified that buyers will be able to pay in their currency of choice, but must first set up an account in Russia’s Gazprombank so their payments can be converted into rubles before reaching the gas provider, Gazprom. The measure applies to buyers from ‘unfriendly states’ which placed sanctions on Russia.