Russia will stop natural gas supplies to Europe for three consecutive days at the end of the month via its main pipeline to the region, Gazprom, the state energy giant, announced Friday.
Unscheduled maintenance of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline that runs under the Baltic Sea to Germany has deepened the energy standoff between Moscow, and Brussels. This has already contributed to inflation rising in the region and increased the risk of rationing, and recession.
Gazprom claimed that the pipeline’s last compressor needed maintenance. Other pipeline routes have also been affected by the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February. Moscow called it “special military operations”.
This will cause further disruption, especially for Germany which relies heavily on Russian energy to power its industries. Russia has been accused by the European Union of using energy as an instrument of war. Moscow denies the accusation and blames sanctions for the decline in exports.
A spokesperson for Germany’s economic ministry stated that they were closely monitoring the situation with the Federal Network Agency. Requests for comment were not immediately returned by the Biden administration.
The shutdown will be effective from August 31 to September 2, following a 10-day maintenance curtailment that was implemented in July. It raised concerns about whether Russia would resume supplies which had been cut since mid-June.
The operator of Ukraine’s gas transmission network said that it and the Polish pipeline system have the capacity for compensating for the Nord Stream halt and allowing Russian gas to reach Europe.
DEPENDENCE IN GERMANY
Germany has been making targeted efforts to stockpile its storage units to prepare for winter. As of August 17, levels were at 78%, slightly higher than the 76% for the European Union in general.
Gazprom stated that flows of 33 million cubic meters (mcm), in accordance with current volumes, will resume after maintenance is completed.
Nord Stream’s daily capacity of 167 mcm would only allow 20% of the restart volume.
Gazprom stated that maintenance work at the Trent 60 gas compressor station will be done in conjunction with Siemens Energy.
Russian companies previously blamed the lower flow on faulty or delayed equipment. Germany claims this is a pretext for hurting its economy.
Siemens, the company responsible for maintaining the Nord Stream 1 turbines declined to comment.
After undergoing maintenance in Canada, one of the Nord Stream 1 turbines remains stuck in Germany. Although Germany claims it can be transported, Moscow continues to insist that the sanctions prevent Russia from shipping the equipment back to Russia.
Senior German politicians rejected earlier suggestions that gas shortages might be eased by allowing the Nord Stream 2 pipeline to resume service. This was something the Kremlin suggested as a solution.
“I strongly recommend that we avoid the embarrassment of asking (Russian President Vladimir Putin) Putin for something we are not going to get,” stated Kevin Kuehnert. He is number two in Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democrats.
In an interview with t-online, he stated that “the dependence on him must end for once and for all.”
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