April 28 (Reuters) - Austrian energy group OMV (OMVV.VI), one of the largest importers of Russian gas, is preparing to open rouble accounts at Gazprombank in Switzerland, the Financial Times said on Thursday, citing people with knowledge of the preparations.
Russian energy giant Gazprom (GAZP.MM) told Poland and Bulgaria on Wednesday it will halt gas supplies after they did not meet Moscow's demand for payment in roubles, escalating a row with Western countries that oppose its invasion of Ukraine. L2N2WP1MN
Austria's government responded on Wednesday that Russian natural gas deliveries to the country continued unrestricted and there was no indication that would change, while it was scrambling to find alternative sources. read more
The FT said Italy's Eni, another of Gazprom's large customers, was evaluating its options. The Italian government-backed company has until the end of May, when its next payment for Russian supplies is due, to make a final call, the newspaper said, citing Italian officials.
An OMV spokesperson told Reuters the company was working on a sanctions-compliant solution but declined to specify whether this meant using accounts as the FT reported. Eni declined to comment.
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.