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Greece to hold emergency meeting over gas payments in roubles- energy ministry

Greece will hold an emergency meeting of its energy regulator, gas transmission operator and its biggest gas and power suppliers over gas payments in roubles ahead of the expiration of a March 31 deadline given by Moscow, its energy ministry said on Wednesday.

The aim of the meeting is to assess all available scenarios about Greece’s gas supply security in case Russia stops gas flows to the country, the ministry said in a statement.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announced last week that “unfriendly” countries would have to pay in roubles for Russian gas. The move has drawn strong criticism from European countries, which pay for Russian gas mostly in euros and say Russia is not entitled to redraw contracts.

The Russian central bank, the government and Gazprom , which accounts for 40% of European gas imports, are to present their proposals for rouble gas payments to President Vladimir Putin by March 31.

Russian gas is delivered to Greece via a pipeline which bypasses Ukraine and covers about 40% of the country’s annual needs. Athens also buys gas from Azerbaijan, Algeria, Turkey and the United States.

Gas flows to Greece are normal and there is no immediate need for the country to declare an alert, said an official at Greece’s gas network operator who declined to be named.



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