Russia’s state-owned power big Gazprom has once more suspended fuel deliveries on the arterial Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Germany, citing upkeep necessities.
The suspension is the most recent in a sequence of halts to fuel provides which have contributed to an ongoing power disaster in Europe within the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine that started on February 24.
Gazprom mentioned on Wednesday that provides by way of Nord Stream 1 have been “fully stopped” for “preventive work” at a compressor unit. The announcement got here shortly after European fuel community operator ENTSOG introduced that deliveries had ceased.
Gazprom has repeatedly maintained the stoppages in provide are obligatory for routine upkeep however have been exacerbated by gear supply issues created by Western sanctions on Russia.
Germany has accused Moscow of utilizing its power sources as a weapon.
Germany’s Federal Community Company chief Klaus Mueller referred to as the most recent cessation “technically incomprehensible”, including that have reveals that Moscow “makes a political choice after each so-called upkeep”.
“We’ll solely know originally of September if Russia does that once more,” mentioned Mueller, apparently referring to suspensions and reductions of flows in June and July that Russia blamed on upkeep.
Anticipated to worsen
Europe’s ongoing power crunch has seen a 400 p.c surge in wholesale fuel costs since final August.
The shortages have squeezed customers and companies alike, who’re reeling from sky-high inflation and the excessive price of residing. It has pressured governments to spend billions to ease the burden.
The state of affairs is anticipated to worsen as European international locations enter the chilly winter months, with many properties utilizing pure fuel for heating. Some international locations, together with France, have mentioned gas rationing is feasible.
Since launching its invasion of Ukraine, Russia has additionally stopped supplying Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands and Poland with fuel whereas lowering flows by way of different pipelines.
On Tuesday, Gazprom mentioned it will droop fuel deliveries to its French contractor over a funds dispute. France’s power minister mentioned that was an excuse, however mentioned the nation had already been anticipating the lack of provide.
The European Union is making ready to take emergency motion to reform the electrical energy market with a purpose to carry rising costs underneath management, with power ministers scheduled to carry extraordinary talks subsequent week.
‘Nothing interferes with provides’
Germany, which is closely depending on Russian fuel, is faring higher than anticipated, with Mueller reporting the nation’s fuel storage was almost 85 p.c stuffed.
Europe as an entire can also be making progress in filling its fuel storage tanks. On Sunday, storage ranges have been already at 79.9 p.c of capability within the EU.
German economic system minister Robert Habeck, who’s main efforts to switch Russian fuel imports by mid-2024, says the nation presently doesn’t have the wanted shops to make it via the winter.
Requested if Gazprom’s provides would resume after the three-day works have been accomplished on Saturday, Russian authorities spokesman Dmitry Peskov mentioned “there’s a assure that, aside from technical issues brought on by sanctions, nothing interferes with provides”.
Western capitals “have imposed sanctions towards Russia, which don’t enable for regular upkeep, restore work”, he mentioned, showing to confer with an incident in July when, following 10 days of scheduled upkeep, Nord Stream 1 flows dwindled.
Gazprom mentioned the problem was the results of a key turbine being blocked from supply to Russia due to sanctions.
Germany, from the place the turbine was being despatched, mentioned Moscow was the one blocking that supply.