Europe will not receive any gas from Russia for the time being. Gazprom is keeping its important Nordstream 1 pipeline closed for the time being. Oil leakage was cited as the cause.
The Nordstream pipeline was scheduled to reopen on Saturday after maintenance. However, according to Gazprom, a leak was discovered during its maintenance work with the German company Siemens at the Portovaya compressor station. The state-owned company then halted all gas exports to Europe. Gazprom claims that oil leaks can only be repaired in a specialized repair shop.
Gazprom writes: “According to information from Siemens, the complete elimination of oil leaks on these engines is possible only in a specialized repair shop.” The company says it has sent a letter about the results to Christian Bruch, the German CEO of Siemens Energy.
The Nordstream 1 pipeline runs about 1,200 kilometers from Saint Petersburg through the Baltic Sea to Germany. The pipeline was opened in 2011 and can transport 55 billion cubic meters of Russian gas to Europe at its maximum capacity. This makes connectivity very important to European energy needs.
This isn’t the first time Russia has shut down Nordstream 1 gas transportation. Previously, it happened for ten days in July, according to Gazprom, due to maintenance of a major gas turbine in Canada. The Canadians then refused to fire the turbine due to sanctions against Russia. Moscow claimed it had no alternative.
However, according to Germany, Russia uses the gas connection as a geopolitical pressure tool on Western Europe. Since the Russians invaded Ukraine on February 24, Gazprom has cut supplies sharply in phases. Since the end of July, only a fifth of the maximum capacity of gas has flowed through it. The lead up to this was 40%.
Russia is expected to continue using Nordstream in the coming months to throttle energy supplies to Europe. Any news of cuts or possible closures will lead to higher gas prices. As a result, European citizens and European companies are seeing their energy costs rise even higher.
Russia denies the allegations and continues to talk about maintenance or other flaws in Nordstream. So far, Moscow says Gazprom “is not responsible for the fact that the reliability of the line through the Baltic Sea is at risk,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Russia’s Interfax news agency this afternoon.
It is believed that there are no technical reserves. He answered a reporter’s question about possible additional outages: “There is only one turbine working.”
Nordstream 2 pipeline has also now been established. However, this second connection between Russia and Europe, which cost more than 11 billion euros, is not yet operational. Germany refused to certify the line and abandoned the project on February 22, two days before the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Today, the Speaker of the Russian Parliament, Vyacheslav Volodin, stated that Europe has two options. “The first is the lifting of illegal sanctions against our country and the launch of Nord Stream 2,” he told Telegram. The second is to leave everything as it is, which will lead to problems in the economy and make the lives of citizens more difficult.
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