Russia to suspend gas supplies to EU
Russia's Nord Stream natural gas pipeline to Germany will shut down for ten days for annual maintenance, the company in charge of the project confirmed on Friday.
Both strings of the pipeline will halt operations for repair works from July 11 to July 21. The operator added that the shutdown was previously agreed with all partners.
“Nord Stream AG will temporarily shut down both lines of its gas pipeline system for routine maintenance works inclusive testing of mechanical elements and automation systems for ensuring reliable, safe, and efficient pipeline operations,” the statement reads.
Germany is concerned over the process, fearing that the flow of gas will not be turned back on, the Financial Times reported last week.
According to the paper, last month's 60% reduction of gas flow by Gazprom due to a technical issue with parts has added to fears that the supply may be shut down completely. This comes as Western Europe is trying to top up gas reserves ahead of the winter season.
In recent years, the maintenance-related shortfall in supplies via Nord Stream was compensated by increased flows through Ukraine or Poland. However, various officials and industry representatives told the FT they feared that Russia may not do that this time, leaving the continent to face gas shortages.
In response, the German government launched a second ‘alarm’ phase of its three-level gas emergency plan. Berlin has warned it’s facing a severe shortage of the fuel amid diminishing supplies from Russia.
The German government announced earlier that the country had made a “bitter” decision to restart coal-fired power plants in order to cope with a possible energy crisis this coming winter.
Nord Stream AG, which is majority-owned by Gazprom, insists that maintenance information was appropriately disclosed in compliance with the EU Regulation on Wholesale Energy Market Integrity and Transparency.
“The schedule for the maintenance activities has been closely coordinated with Nord Stream’s upstream and downstream partners,” it added.
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