After 10 days of maintenance and uncertainty, Gazprom resumed the flow of gas through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Germany. However, Europe doubts future pumping and Russia does not rule out new technical problems arising due, according to the Kremlin, to Western sanctions for the invasion of Ukraine, to which Europe replies that it is an argument to “blackmail” the Union European. For now, gas supply stands at 40%, well below full capacity.
Germany regains gas supply from Russia after ten days of suspension for maintenance work, but well below its total capacity.
The gas giant Gazprom, which transports gas directly to Germany under the Baltic Sea, resumed service this Thursday, July 21 through the Nord Stream gas pipeline from 6:00 am (local time), but Russia does not rule out new problems arising from Western sanctions over the invasion of Ukraine, leaving Europe facing the prospect of a harsh winter.
In a statement, the company indicated that “Nord Stream AG has successfully completed all planned maintenance work on the two strands within the established period” and underlined that the latest gas supply volumes were the same as those announced before the period of maintenance, around 67 million cubic meters per day, which corresponds to approximately 40% of the maximum supply capacity.
MORE: Nord Stream AG said the latest gas supply volumes were the same as those announced before the maintenance period – around 67 million cubic meters per day – and correspond to about 40% of maximum supply capacity
— dpa news agency (@dpa_intl) July 21, 2022
Klaus Müller, president of the German Federal Network Agency, has explained on his Twitter account how the resumption of the gas flow has been. The last report was at 12:00 (local time) and states that “if the first four hours of gas flows from North Stream 1 per day, we get approximately 700 GWh/d and the previous maintenance level of 40%. But in view of the 60% that are missing and the political instability, there is no reason to give the go-ahead yet.”
In the afternoon of this Thursday, Müller is scheduled to appear before the media next to the Minister of the Economy, Robert Habeck, to offer the latest data on the supply of Russian gas to Germany.
Amid rising tensions over Russia’s war in Ukraine, German officials feared the pipeline, the main source of Russian gas in the country and which has recently accounted for around a third of supplies to Germany, might not reopen.
All this after reducing the flow in June due to problems with repaired pumping equipment and technical failures in motors. Russia argues that due to this situation, only two turbines are currently operating at the Portovaya compressor station in the Leningrad region.
Russia’s warning about Western sanctions
Two days ago, faced with fears in Europe that Russia would not resume gas supplies, Russian President Vladimir Putin assured that Gazprom “has always fulfilled, fulfills and intends to fulfill all its obligations.”
But the Kremlin leader warned that new problems could arise in the coming days if a motor that was under repair at the Siemens plant in Canada is not returned on time.
That engine, according to the Russian newspaper ‘Kommersant’, was sent by plane from Canada to Germany on July 17 and should arrive in Russia on the 22nd or 24th if there are no logistics and customs problems.
The argument was ratified this Thursday. From the Kremlin it was affirmed again that the problems surrounding Russian gas supplies to Europe are due solely to restrictions imposed on Russia by Western countries.
“The technological difficulties related to that (the supplies) are due to the restrictions that the European states themselves have introduced,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov told his morning news conference.
“And it is these restrictions that mean that some units are currently unable to receive the necessary service,” insisted Peskov.
In response, European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said on Wednesday that the turbine was “in transit” and there was “no excuse not to deliver” gas. Europe sees this argument as an excuse to “blackmail” the European Union.
Europe’s fears of dependence on Russian gas
The German government has rejected Gazprom’s technical explanation for the gas cut, repeatedly claiming it was just a pretext for a political decision to sow uncertainty and push energy prices even higher.
Faced with this ring of uncertainty, the European Commission proposed this week that member countries reduce their gas consumption by 15% in the coming months, as the bloc prepares for a possible complete cut off of the supply of the element by Russia.
Germany and the rest of Europe are struggling to fill gas storage in time for winter and reduce their dependence on Russian energy imports.
Germany has the largest economy in Europe and gas is important for fueling its industries, providing heating and, to some extent, generating electricity..
To make up the shortfalls, the German government has given utilities the green light to turn on 10 idle coal-fired power plants and six oil-fired ones. Another 11 coal-fired power plants that were scheduled to close in November will be able to continue operating.
With AP and EFE