Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Poland to end Russian oil imports as Germany warns over gas supplies


Poland has announced steps to end all Russian oil imports by the end of the year, while Germany issued a warning about natural gas levels and called on people to conserve.

The moves demonstrated how Russia’s war in Ukraine has escalated tensions about securing energy supplies to power Europe.

Poland, which has taken in millions of Ukrainian refugees, has taken the lead in the European Union on swiftly cutting off Russian fossil fuels.

Mateusz Morawiecki
Mateusz Morawiecki (Daniel Leal/PA)

The 27-nation bloc has declined to sanction energy because it depends on Moscow for the fuel needed for cars, electricity, heating and industry, but it has announced proposals to wean itself off those supplies.

“We are presenting the most radical plan in Europe for departing from Russian oil by the end of this year,” Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said at a news conference.

It comes a day after Warsaw said it was banning Russian coal imports, expected by May.

Mr Morawiecki said Poland will take steps to become “independent” of Russian supplies and is calling on other EU countries to “walk away” as well, arguing that money paid for Russia’s oil and gas is fuelling Moscow’s war machine.

(PA Graphics)

While some in Europe are calling for an immediate boycott of all Russian oil and natural gas, the EU plans to reduce Russian gas imports by two-thirds by the end of the year and eliminate them before 2030.

In the meantime, rattled energy markets have pushed up already high oil and natural gas prices for Europeans and others worldwide.

The EU is turning to investments in renewable energy as a long-term fix but is also scrambling to shore up alternative sources of fossil fuels, including a new agreement with the US to receive more liquefied natural gas that arrives by ship.

Poland is expanding an LNG terminal to receive deliveries from Qatar, the US, Norway and other exporters, and a new Baltic pipeline bringing gas from Norway is expected to open by the end of the year.

LNG gas terminal, Swionujscie
The LNG gas terminal at Swionujscie, Poland (Alamy/PA)

Warsaw has also been reducing dependence on Russian oil through contracts with Saudi Arabia, the US and Norway and is considering imports from Kazakhstan.

Germany, the EU’s biggest economy and one of the most reliant on Russia’s natural gas, has signed deals with several suppliers of LNG, which is shipped to neighbouring European countries and then pumped in. Officials say they aim to end the use of Russian oil and coal this year and natural gas by mid-2024.

Germany issued an early warning over gas supplies and called on companies and households to conserve amid concerns that Russia could cut off deliveries unless it is paid in roubles.

Western nations have rejected that demand, arguing it would undermine sanctions over the war. France also called for “those who can” to conserve energy, including electricity and gas, focusing especially on businesses and public facilities.

“There have been several comments from the Russian side that if this (payments in roubles) doesn’t happen, then the supplies will be stopped,” German economy minister Robert Habeck told reporters in Berlin.

Robert Habeck
Robert Habeck (Bernd von Jutrczenka/AP)

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said switching payments for Russian gas to roubles is going to be a “drawn-out process”, noting there is always a gap between gas supplies and payments and that the government will release details of the plan soon.

Mr Habeck called the early warning precautionary as Russia was still fulfilling its contracts so far. It is the first of three levels and entails establishing a crisis team to step up monitoring of the gas supply.

Germany’s gas storages are filled to about 25% capacity.

“The question how long the gas will last basically depends on several factors (such as) consumption and weather,” he said. “If there’s a lot of heating, then the storage facilities will be emptied.”

He added that Germany is prepared for a sudden halt in Russian gas supplies but warned of “considerable impacts” and urged consumers to help prevent a shortage by reducing their use.

“We are in a situation where, I have to say this clearly, every kilowatt hour of energy saved helps,” Mr Habeck said.

The second warning level would require companies in the gas industry to take necessary measures to regulate supply, and the third means full state intervention to ensure those who most need gas — such as hospitals and private households — receive it.

Italy issued a pre-alert of the risks to its natural gas supply days after the war broke out, given its heavy reliance on Russia.

Energy transition minister Roberto Cingolani said the warning aimed to inform users of the “uncertainties linked to the conflict”, while confirming supplies remained adequate to cover demand. It has not asked people to conserve.

France’s gas storage facilities are “well filled”, according to the head of its Regulatory Energy Commission, but still asked for some efforts to save energy.

Already a subscriber? Sign in