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Apr 24, 2022
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Coal, oil, gas from Russia: New “fuhrers” of Germany bring burghers to a nervous breakdown

Coal, oil, gas from Russia: New

Photo: imago images/IlluPics/TASS

The Germans can pay three billion euros more for our oil this year than last year. Can they pay or not? Our punctual partners are accustomed to counting every pfennig, in the sense of a euro-cent. No wonder their economists are scratching their heads.

Greenpeace did not stand aside either, in which they calculated that the Federal Republic would pay the Russian Federation almost €34 billion – this is a record. Environmental activists in the service of big business have proposed a tax on Russian gas. That’s just interesting in rubles or in euros?

The German publication Deutsche Wirschafts Nachrichten, which translates to German Economic News, has reprinted a Greenpeace report detailing that payments for Russian oil will jump from €11 billion last year to €14 billion this year. Spending on Russian gas will double – from €9 billion to €18 billion. Another €2 billion will be spent by Germany on Russian coal – these data are quoted by RIA Novosti.

Director of the Energy Development Fund Sergey Pikin believes that Greenpeace is still cautious, but in fact, Germany can pay Russia more, because the price of gas today is a dollar per cubic meter:

– Objectively, everything is explained simply – the price increase began last summer. The situation with Western sanctions against Russia only aggravated everything. The price tags for oil and gas are at their maximum. Because of this, consumers all over the world overpay: Germany, Poland, and the Netherlands. All! But this additional money is also received by all countries that supply energy resources – not only Russia. In this regard, the same Norway, and Algeria (if we talk about gas), and Saudi Arabia (if we talk about oil) will replenish their budgets in this regard.

So it’s not worth blaming Russia for all this. Although we are a major supplier, we are not the only one. Our share in the global world is not that big. But the fact that consumers are forced to overpay because of the decision of their politicians is a fact.

“SP”: – Will the real cash flow continue, will the sanctions interfere? Have the buyers of Russian energy resources figured out the new payment procedure?

– It is not yet clear how they will respond to our decision to convert payments into rubles. But in terms of gas, they objectively simply have no options. As for oil, they are ready to switch to another supplier. Although it is difficult, troublesome and expensive, it will cause another rise in oil prices, followed by gasoline, and so on.

As regards gas, the Europeans cannot do this due to the fact that there are no other suppliers and no structure that could accept this gas if they suddenly found suppliers. But there is no excess gas in the world either.

“SP”: – It turns out that politicians are loudly declaring something, and performers, business – will slowly do everything right?

“Politicians don’t say anything about gas. They all say as one that it is impossible to do without Russian gas. A furious discussion in the European Union is being conducted only on our oil – is it necessary to impose an embargo on Russian oil or not? Someone is “for”, someone is “against”, but no consensus has yet been formed.

The next package of anti-Russian sanctions may include similar measures. There were debates on coal, and it was agreed to refuse. And then with a delay of four months to find suppliers – everything is not so simple …

Ordinary Germans are very concerned about the plans of their “fuhrers” to refuse to import Russian gas, according to the authoritative edition of the Financial Times. So far, only one discussion of a possible embargo is driving the Germans to nervous exhaustion. The share of Russian gas in the German market is more than half. If you turn it off abruptly – this will paralyze most of the industry – do not go to a fortune teller.

The embargo on Russian oil will undoubtedly hit not only giants, but also medium and small businesses. Small companies do not enter into long-term contracts for the supply of energy. Rising prices will affect them directly. Half of the small firms use gas as their main source of energy, and a quarter use oil.

The West, having imposed large-scale sanctions, is already suffering, but, nevertheless, in Europe they continue to call for the abandonment of Russian energy resources. Berlin until the end of this year will refuse to import coal and oil. And after two years from gas, it’s like cutting off a cat’s tail piece by piece.

Leading expert of the National Energy Security Fund Igor Yushkov suggests that, according to indirect signs, companies seem to be starting to switch to a new payment scheme for rubles, although no one has officially confirmed this:

– According to the new payment scheme, we demanded that unfriendly countries switch to rubles for energy resources, and friendly ones do. Armenia stated that it switched to ruble settlement, and not quite – did they switch to the new scheme or just pay in rubles?

As early as the middle of this month, certain advance payments for future May deliveries of our energy carriers were to be made. And from about that moment, the ruble began to strengthen strongly against the euro, and then against the dollar. It follows from this that someone enters the foreign exchange market with a large mass of either dollars or euros, exchanging them for Russian money. Accordingly, the demand for rubles increases.

So far, we can only analyze in this way, observing “flashes” – the rise or fall of the exchange rate difference. So, someone is buying up part of the rubles. Based on these indirect signs, one can say that someone has switched to the ruble payment scheme for Russian energy carriers.

In fact, this does not concern exactly how much Germany and other countries will pay for Russian gas supplies. According to the scheme proposed by the Russian leadership, it is absolutely all the same to foreign companies – they themselves do not touch our rubles.

According to the new scheme, a foreign company only opens a foreign currency account with Gazprombank in dollars and rubles. And transfer money to this account. And Gazprombank itself changes money on the stock exchange, acting as an agent. Having changed, he puts it on a ruble account and then everything is transferred to Gazprom.

The exchange rate difference should be of concern to our supplier company, and not to foreign companies that buy gas. Its cost as calculated in dollar terms, and is calculated. The pricing formula, in principle, does not change, rubles are not written into it. Everything is in dollar terms. But these dollars used to be given to Gazprom, and now to Gazprombank – that’s all.

So for foreign companies, the scheme does not fundamentally change. They only need to sign an additional agreement, which says that the currency of settlement is now the ruble and open an account.

However, this new scheme strengthens the ruble. After all, the Central Bank reduces foreign exchange controls. Until recently, there was a strict requirement for exporters, having received foreign exchange earnings within three days, to sell 80% of it on the market. Now this is not required, they have extended the term – you can sell within 60 days. But at the same time, all dollar proceeds for gas immediately go to the foreign exchange market, filling it.

“SP”: – But if the same Germans suddenly want to pay for Russian gas according to the previous scheme, ours, probably, will not refuse either, as long as they really pay, and do not keep the money for themselves under some far-fetched pretexts? Or will they refuse?

– Initially Vladimir Putin was quite categorical and said that we would not consider paying Gazprom under the old scheme in dollars or euros, only under the new one.

At the same time, formally, it’s not even Gazprom itself that is involved in exports, but its subsidiary Gazprom-export. If earlier his accounts were placed in foreign banks, now this is being transferred to Russian jurisdiction. The main thing is to secure the money that comes to us for the supplied gas. Just in case, because if the money was really arrested, then we would immediately stop supplying gas.

Therefore, now everything needs to be transferred to Russia – both registrations and accounts. In the West, they are arrested without trial or investigation just because they have something to do with Russia. They even arrested the accounts of Russian oppositionists who had long ago left for Europe or the United States – no one is looking at anything. Therefore, it is logical that Russia transfers all transactions to Russian banks.

Let’s see how much the positions of Russia and Europe will soften and converge in the future. It is logical that if an ultimatum is put forward, then it is necessary to achieve its implementation. Moreover, nothing changes for companies, and they don’t really mind. Politicians objected, shouting: “We don’t know what this ruble of yours looks like at all!” They were against it simply because our president’s statement sounded very harsh.

Germany and other countries do not want to give up Russian gas. Aggravation is observed only in supranational bodies – negative statements are being received from Brussels, the headquarters of the European Union.

In addition, such countries as Poland and Lithuania are hard-lined. Poland’s contract with Gazprom ends at the end of this year, so it is possible that the Poles will break the agreement. And Lithuania has reduced the volume of consumption, since gas prices in the world are too high for this country, the industry stops, and the gas that enters the LNG receiving terminal is enough for the population and social projects.

As for Germany and other developed European countries, I think they will switch to a new ruble scheme …

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