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11 Jul, 2022 05:50

Russia suspends operation of major gas pipeline to Europe

Planned maintenance work means supplies have come to a standstill
Russia suspends operation of major gas pipeline to Europe

The flow of Russian gas to Germany through the Nord Stream 1 Baltic Sea pipeline was suspended on Monday.

Operator Nord Stream AG said that routine maintenance work would shut down the infrastructure for ten days. During the pre-planned stoppage, all gas flows will stop.

The operator highlighted that the situation was well flagged and had previously been agreed with all partners.

Last month, the Russian energy giant slashed the volumes of gas delivered to Germany via the pipe by 60% due to operational challenges, caused by the failure to return a serviced turbine on time from Canada. However, German Economy Minister Robert Habeck argued that it was “a political decision.”

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 that they feared Russia may not do that this time, leaving the continent to face gas shortages.

“Based on the pattern we’ve seen, it would not be very surprising now if some small, technical detail is found and then they could say ‘Now we can’t turn it on any more,’” Habeck said in late June.

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.