MOSCOW, May 19. /TASS/. About half of Gazprom Export’s 54 foreign clients have opened ruble bank accounts to pay for Russian gas, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak revealed on Thursday.
"There are 54 companies, including large, mid-sized and small ones, which have contracts with Gazprom Export," Novak said, addressing the New Horizons educational marathon conference. "I know that about half of them have already opened accounts [in Gazprombank], one in foreign currency and one in rubles," where foreign currency is subsequently converted to rubles for payment.
The finalized list of Russian gas buyers, which have agreed to switch to ruble payments, will be released in the next few days, the deputy prime minister promised, citing complex payment and prepayment schedules. "These are protracted in time arrangements - April supplies, for instance, are paid for in May," Novak explained.
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on March 31, approving the new gas-for-rubles payment plan for buyers from "unfriendly countries." Now they must transfer foreign currencies to Gazprombank, which will buy rubles on the market and transfer the Russian currency to importers’ special ruble accounts.