Germany fears Russia gas cut may become permanent

Russian natural gas supplies to Germany via the Baltic Sea pipeline Nord Stream 1 have been halted for 10 days for annual maintenance work.

But German Economy Minister, Robert Habeck, warned that EU countries had to be prepared in case gas shipments did not resume.

He has accused the Kremlin of using gas “as a weapon” in response to EU sanctions over the war in Ukraine.

Mr Habeck admitted Germany had become too dependent on Russian gas.

But he said that two floating terminals for deliveries of liquefied natural gas (LNG) would be ready by the end of the year.

In mid-June, Russia’s state gas firm, Gazprom, cut gas flows through Nord Stream 1 to just 40% of the pipeline’s capacity. It blamed a delay in the return of equipment being serviced by Germany’s Siemens Energy.

The Canadian government said it will now return a repaired Siemens turbine to Germany for the pipeline. That move angered the Ukrainian government, which accused Canada of adjusting the sanctions imposed on Moscow “to the whims of Russia”.

Canada said it was granting Siemens Canada a “time-limited and revocable permit” to send repaired turbines back to Germany, despite the sanctions.

Germany’s government was worried that gas supplies could be reduced or cut permanently.

Pipeline maintenance was normal every summer when gas demand was lower than in winter, but the worry was that Russia may not turn the taps back on.

The pipeline shutdown was also affecting Italy, where energy group, Eni, said it would receive about a third less gas from Russia’s Gazprom on Monday compared with average volumes supplied over the past few days.

The head of the International Energy Agency, Fatih Birol, has warned that Russia may cut off gas supplies to Europe entirely and that Europe needed to prepare.

Russia has already cut gas supplies to Poland, Bulgaria, the Netherlands, Denmark and Finland over their refusal to comply with a new payment scheme.

Austria and the Czech Republic got some gas from Nord Stream 1, but Russian gas also flowed to them via a Ukrainian pipeline.

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, Germany has reduced its dependence on Russian gas from 55% to 35% and wanted to stop using gas from Russia altogether. -BBC

Show More
Back to top button