Italian Eni opens a double account in rubles and euros to pay Gazprom

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Italy’s Eni announced on Tuesday that it had launched proceedings to open two accounts, one in euros and the other in rubles, to pay for Russian gas, but added that it was doing so on a precautionary basis.

The Italian energy group, one of the largest importers of Russian gas in Europe, said the move comes after Gazprom asked for an amendment to existing contracts under a new gas payment system.

“The company is going to open the two accounts temporarily without prejudice to its contractual rights, which still provide for payment in euros,” Eni said in a statement.

State-controlled Eni said its decision was made in agreement with the Italian government and in compliance with the sanctions framework.

Eni has a deadline of May 20 to pay Russia’s state-owned Gazprom, after Moscow in late March asked foreign buyers to start paying for gas in rubles, otherwise they risk losing their offer.

Countries and companies have been asking the European Commission for weeks for clarity on how they can make payments without violating the sanctions imposed after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Eni said, at the request of the European Commission, that it had made it clear from the outset to Gazprom that it considered that its obligations had been met during the transfer of the euros.

In an updated guide Friday, the Commission reaffirmed its previous advice that companies can still pay for Russian gas if they do so in the currency agreed in their existing contracts and state that the transaction is complete when that currency is paid.

EU sanctions do not prevent companies from opening a bank account, the commission added in a statement.

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Source: Capital

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