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19 Jul, 2022 11:18

Germany reacts to Gazprom's force majeure gas cutoff claim

The Russian firm reportedly informed energy giant Uniper that it cannot fulfil supply contracts due to “extraordinary” circumstances
Germany reacts to Gazprom's force majeure gas cutoff claim

German energy firm Uniper has rejected the ‘force majeure’ claim by Russian energy giant Gazprom which is preventing contractual gas supplies to Europe, CNBC reported on Tuesday.

Force majeure, a legal term used in contracts, is an unforeseeable and unavoidable situation that interrupts an expected course of events and prevents parties to a contract from fulfilling their obligations, while in theory also absolving them from penalties.

Gazprom sent a letter to Uniper notifying the German company that it cannot guarantee EU gas supplies via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline retroactively starting June 14 due to “extraordinary” circumstances outside its control, Reuters reported on Monday.

“It is true that we have received a letter from Gazprom Export in which the company claims force majeure retroactively for past and current shortfalls in gas deliveries. We consider this as unjustified and have formally rejected the force majeure claim,” CNBC quotes Uniper spokesperson Lucas Wintgens as saying.

CNBC says that another German energy company, RWE, also confirmed it had received the force majeure notice from Gazprom.

According to Reuters, the letter was referring to supplies to Germany via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline. The route is currently undergoing planned annual maintenance which is due to be completed on Thursday, however many in Germany fear that the flow will not be resumed.

Last month, supply via the pipeline was slashed by 60% as a vital piece of equipment was not returned from repairs in Canada on time due to sanctions on Russia. According to media reports, the gas turbine should be back in Russia within a week.

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