Alexey Gromov, Principal Director on Energy Studies of the Institute for Energy and Finance, commented to the Oil and Capital Internet portal regarding the decision of the President of Russia to transfer payments for the export of Russian natural gas to unfriendly countries into rubles.
However, it will be necessary to coordinate the scheme with each specific partner, and this will take some time.
“This is a strategically correct decision, because in the face of such powerful sanctions pressure on the Russian economy, it is designed to maintain the stability of the ruble. By the way, the fact that this decision has such an effect is evidenced by the data of the currency exchange: Russian national currency is strengthening. But, of course, it will be a difficult transition, and there are certain risks.
The first group of risks is associated with long-term contracts. Russian gas is supplied to unfriendly EU countries mainly under long-term contracts, which specify the currency of settlements. A unilateral change in the currency of settlements can be interpreted as force majeure, and sanctions pressure, in theory, refers to this. However, this step can also be interpreted as a unilateral change in the contract, that is, a violation. In the latter case, European countries may use the decision as a basis for terminating long-term contracts with the Russian Federation. This cannot be ruled out.
Further, there will be problems that will need to be addressed at the operational level. It will be necessary to offer European countries channels for buying rubles, through which banks. On the other hand, it is important that payments in rubles will come out of the sanctions pressure. They cannot be controlled by the American financial system in any way, that is, this is one of the methods of counter-sanctions."
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