Russia cuts off gas supplies from Nord Stream while Vladimir Putin forces sanctions on Europe

Russia tightened its gas pressure on Europe yesterday as Gazprom said supplies through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Germany would drop to just 20 percent of capacity.

azprom said flow would drop to 33 million cubic meters per day starting tomorrow as operation of a Siemens gas turbine at a compressor station had to be halted on orders from an industry regulator.

Germany said it sees no technical reason for the latest reduction, which comes as Russia and the West trade economic blows in response to Ukraine’s Feb. 24 invasion.

Nord Stream 1 is the largest single Russian gas connection to Europe with a capacity of 55 billion cubic meters per year.

The Dutch gas contract for the front month, the European benchmark, rose 9.2 percent after the news.

The European Union has repeatedly accused Russia of resorting to energy blackmail, while the Kremlin says the disruption was caused by maintenance problems and the impact of Western sanctions.

Politicians in Europe have said Russia could cut gas supplies this winter, pushing Germany into recession and leading to rising prices for consumers already grappling with higher food and energy prices.

Germany was forced last week to announce a €15 billion bailout for Uniper, its largest company that imports gas from Russia.

President Vladimir Putin warned the West this month that continued sanctions risk triggering catastrophic energy price hikes for consumers around the world.

He announced the latest cut in comments on the Nord Stream 1 compressor last week when he said: “There are two working machines. They’re pumping 60 million cubic meters a day… If one isn’t returned, there’s one that’s 30 million cubic meters.”

Russia is the second largest oil exporter in the world after Saudi Arabia and the world’s largest exporter of natural gas.

Europe imports about 40 percent of its gas and 30 percent of its oil from Russia.

Gazprom resumed gas flow through Nord Stream 1 last week after a 10-day maintenance break, but only at 40 percent of the pipeline’s capacity, the level to which Russia reduced volumes in June, citing the delayed return of a turbine , which is serviced in Canada.

European politicians have questioned this explanation, with Germany saying the turbine in question should not be used before September.

Gazprom earlier said it had received papers from Siemens Energy and Canada on the first turbine, but problems remain.

“Gazprom has … studied the documents, but must recognize that they do not eliminate the previously identified risks and raise additional questions,” the statement said.

“Besides, there are still outstanding issues from Gazprom on the EU and UK sanctions, the solution of which is important for the delivery of the engine to Russia and the urgent overhaul of other gas turbine engines for the Portovaya compressor station,” the company said.

The Kremlin earlier said Moscow is not interested in a complete halt to Russian gas supplies to Europe, which is rushing to fill its underground storage facilities ahead of the upcoming winter season’s peak demand. Russia cuts off gas supplies from Nord Stream while Vladimir Putin forces sanctions on Europe

Fry Electronics Team

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