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On Tuesday evening, Poland’s state-controlled oil and natural gas company PGNiG announced that Russia’s energy giant Gazprom intends to completely halt its gas deliveries to Poland along the Yamal pipeline. The suspension of energy supplies will take place as of 8:00 a.m. Wednesday, April 27- PGNiG said in a stock exchange report.

Gazprom has notified PGNiG that it is suspending the long-term Yamal contract because the Polish company decided to continue paying for Russian gas in dollars and euros (as specified in the contract), in spite of Putin’s demand to settle the payments in rubles. According to a decree issued by the Russian President in late March, "unfriendly" nations are supposed to pay for gas in rubles, rather than in euros or dollars as they have done before.

The European Commission deemed Putin's decree a unilateral breach of Gazprom's contracts and an attempt to circumvent Western sanctions imposed on Russia over its attack on Ukraine. 

Poland announces lawsuit against Gazprom

In its statement, PGNiG said that "the halting of natural gas supplies [by Gazprom] constitutes a breach of the Yamal Contract. Therefore, the Company will take appropriate action to reinstate the natural gas deliveries under the Yamal Contract".

At the same time, PGNiG stated that it "reserves [its] right to pursue damages for the aforementioned suspension of natural gas deliveries and, to that end, will exercise all of its contractual rights as well as its legal rights". 

It is an announcement of an upcoming lawsuit that PGNiG will file against Gazprom.

Shielding households from rising energy prices

At an ad hoc press conference held on Tuesday evening, Poland’s Climate Minister Anna Moskwa and the Secretary of State for Strategic Energy Infrastructure Piotr Naimski assured the public that Poland had anticipated the scenario of Gazprom shutting off gas supplies and was prepared for it. They pointed out that Poland’s current gas reserves are filled in almost 80% and PGNiG will import additional batches of gas from Western Europe as well as liquefied natural gas form from other sources (e.g. USA, Qatar).

- We are safe – said Piotr Naimski. 

Minister Anna Moskwa announced an extension of current gas tariffs for private households until 2027. 

Gas tariffs are set by the President of the Energy Regulatory Office (Poland’s central body responsible for regulating the energy sector). In other words, tariffs are administratively set prices that can differ from market prices currently applicable to e.g. industrial gas consumers. In addition, the application of gas tariffs facilitates the process of subsidizing gas bills for private households by the state, as it happens now with the mechanism of compensating gas suppliers for selling gas to households at reduced prices determined in the tariffs.

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Every day, 400 journalists at Gazeta Wyborcza write verified, fact-checked stories about Polish politics and society, keeping a critical eye on the ruling camp’s persistent assault on democratic values and the rule of law; the growing cultural tension between religious fundamentalism and human rights; and the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic. Our journalists are on the front lines in 25 Polish cities, reporting from the streets, hospitals, and courtrooms about issues that move public opinion.

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