Moscow has imposed sanctions on the owner of the Polish part of the Yamal pipeline that carries Russian gas to Europe, as well as the former German unit of Russian gas producer Gazprom, whose subsidiaries use European gas.
The list of companies listed on a Russian government’s website on Wednesday was based on countries that have imposed sanctions on Russia in response to Ukraine’s attack, most of them members of the European Union.
The impact of gas supplies to Europe, which buys more than a third of its gas from Russia, was not immediately clear. Eastward gas flow continued through the Yamal-Europe pipeline from Germany to Poland, data from the gascade pipeline operator shows.
Energy prices rose on Wednesday as the European Union weighed in on possible sanctions on Russian crude oil, and trading firms were prepared to reduce activity with Russia when the EU’s strict rules on Russian oil sales came into force on May 15.
Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered on May 3 that no Russian company be allowed to enter into agreements with those on the sanctions list or to fulfill its obligations under existing agreements.
The decree explicitly prohibits the export of goods and raw materials to listed individuals and entities.
Russia’s Interfax news agency reports that the Polish pipeline is owned by Europol Gaz, Gazprom Germany and 29 Gazprom German companies from Switzerland, Hungary, Britain, France, Bulgaria, the Benelux region, the United States, Switzerland, Romania and Singapore.
Gazprom supplies most of its gas to Europe via the Yamal-Europe pipeline, and its various activities throughout Europe and beyond are essential for its supply to the European gas market and to industry and households.
German operations based on Russian gas production cover the entire gas price chain, from pipelines to storage and supply to wholesalers and retailers.
Gazprom relinquished ownership of the firm last month without explanation, forcing Germany’s energy network regulator to take control of operations there.
These operations include Germany’s largest gas storage facility in Rehden, Lower Saxony, with a capacity of 4 billion cubic meters.
The German economy ministry said it was examining Gazprom’s Russian declaration, but did not provide further details. Gas supplies are currently being secured and are under constant scrutiny, the ministry said.
“The German government and the Federal Network Agency, as trustees of Gazprom Germany, are already in the process of taking the necessary precautions and preparing for various situations,” the spokesman said in a statement.
Putin issued his decree in response to illegal actions by the United States and its allies to “deprive the citizens of the Russian Federation, the Russian Federation, and Russian legal entities of property rights” or restrict their property rights.
The United States and its allies have imposed the toughest sanctions in modern history on Russia and Moscow’s business elite, a move that Putin has called a declaration of economic war.
Ramanan Krishnamurthy, chief energy officer at the University of Houston, said: “The point is clear – only a reflection of Western European action and they can control revenue and gas flows.”
Putin, 69, repeatedly warned that Moscow would respond kindly, although the Kremlin’s toughest economic response until last week was to cut off gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria and demand a new payment scheme for European buyers of gas.
The Gaz-system, the operator of the Polish division of the Yamal-Europe pipeline, could not immediately be reached for comment.
EuRoPol Gaz, jointly owned by Gazprom and Poland’s largest gas company, PGNiG, PGN.WA and collects transit fees for Russian gas crossing Poland. PGNiG had no immediate comment.
Wingas, a German subsidiary of Gazprom and one of Germany’s largest gas traders, said after the takeover by the German regulator that it would continue to operate under the changed parameters.