Gazprom holds off Asian ruble payment requests: press
Major Asian buyers of Russian LNG are yet to be asked by Gazprom to pay for supplies in rubles, despite calls within the Russian firm to extend the ruble payment system beyond Europe, Reuters reported July 5.
A deputy department head at Gazprom, Kirill Polous, was quoted as saying by Interfax on July 4 that the company had proposed asking Asian buyers to set up accounts in Gazprombank, where there foreign currency-denominated payments could be converted into rubles and transferred to Gazprom.
This could compound Asian supply pressures in light of Freeport LNG's closure in the US, and after Russia seized control of the Sakhalin-2 LNG facility last week. Japanese utilities currently receive around 60% of Sakhalin-2's output, followed by Korea Gas Corp (KOGAS) and Taiwan's CPC, Reuters said.
JERA, Japan's biggest LNG importer, as well as KOGAS are still to receive a formal request to pay for LNG supplies in rubles, while Tokyo Gas has refused to comment.
The three companies have long-term contracts with Sakhalin-2 LNG's operator, Sakhalin Energy, in which Gazprom has a 50% operating stake. Shell still owns 27.5% despite announcing its departure in light of the Ukraine war, while Japanese conglomerates Mitsui and Mitsubishi own 12.5% and 10% respectively.
In Taiwan, state-owned CPC's Russian LNG offtake has lapsed, as its long-term sales agreement with Gazprom has not been renewed. A spokesperson for Taiwan's economy ministry says CPC has alternative gas imports lined up, meaning "there are no ruble purchase or settlement issues involved." Refinitiv data shows SPC imported two cargoes from the Sakhalin LNG and Yamal facilities in June, Reuters reported.