October 1, 2022

Nord Stream 1 pipeline shutdown for three days, adding pressure on Europe

Nord Stream 1 pipeline shutdown for three days, adding pressure on Europe

State-owned energy giant Gazprom said on Friday that Russia will halt gas supplies to Europe for three days at the end of the month via its main pipeline to the region, adding to pressure on the region as it seeks to refuel before winter.

The unscheduled maintenance order for the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, which runs under the Baltic Sea to Germany, is deepening the energy crisis between Moscow and Brussels, which has already helped drive up inflation in the region and raise the risks of rationing and recession.

Gazprom said the three-day shutdown was because the pipeline’s only remaining gas compressor needed maintenance, however the move would bring More turmoil especially for Germanywhich is largely dependent on deliveries from Moscow to power its industry.

Follows the last closure a 10 days annual scheduled maintenance which occurred in July, and raised concerns about whether Russia would resume supplies, which have been reduced since mid-June.

Germany already had to give Uniper – the largest importer of Russian gas and the biggest victim of Europe’s energy crisis to date – 15 billion euros ($15.1 billion) bailout plan After Russia drastically reduced flows, forcing it to buy gas from elsewhere at much higher prices.

The broader German economic impact was highlighted in producer price data on Friday which in July saw its highest increases ever, both year over year and month after month, as energy costs rose significantly.

The Nord Stream pipeline was already operating at a fifth of its capacity, raising concerns that Russia could completely halt flows into the winter heating season and make filling storage facilities more difficult.

Germany has made targeted efforts to fill its storage facilities to get ready, with levels at 78.19% as of August 17, up slightly from 75.89% for the EU as a whole.

Gazprom said that after maintenance is complete, and “in the absence of technical failures” it will resume flows of 33 million cubic meters per day – in line with current volumes.

This still represents only 20% of Nord Stream’s full capacity of 167 million cubic meters per day.

Gazprom said that maintenance work on the remaining gas compressor station Trent 60 will be carried out with Siemens. The Russian group has previously blamed defective or delayed equipment for the drop in flows. Germany says this is an excuse to hurt its economy.

Siemens Energy, which is responsible for maintaining Nord Stream 1 turbines, declined to comment.

Earlier, top German politicians from the ruling parties rejected suggestions that the gas shortage could be mitigated by allowing the suspended Nord Stream 2 pipeline to service, something the Kremlin had suggested as a solution.

“I strongly suggest that we refrain ourselves from the humiliation we always ask (Russian President Vladimir) Putin for something we will not get,” said Kevin Koehnert, second-in-command in Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s SPD.

“Reliance on him must end once and for all,” he added in an interview with t-online.