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Nord Stream 1: Russia’s Gazprom announces indefinite shutdown of pipeline | DW | 02.09.2022

Gazprom halted gas flows through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Germany Friday, citing a gas leak and providing no time frame for when supplies could be restarted.

What do we know so far?

The state-owned oil firm said supplies would remain halted through Saturday after the leak was detected. The energy giant said the pipeline would not restart until repairs were fully implemented.

Gazprom said the leak was found at the main gas turbine at the Portovaya compressor station near St Petersburg. On Telegram, Gazprom published a picture of cables covered in a brown liquid and claiming it was a consequence of the defect the state-owned  firm had detected.

On August 19, Gazprom said it would stop the flow of gas through the pipeline from August 31 until September 2 due to routine maintenance.

On Wednesday, the Russian gas giant said the shutdown would last only three days.

Previously Gazprom said gas would continue to flow on Saturday after a turbine’s repair was required. Moscow blames Western sanctions for deterring routine maintenance of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline.

Gazprom had sent the 12-meter-long Siemens Energy SGT-A65 (Trent 60) turbine weghing at 20 tons for repairs in Canada in July after a sanctions waiver was permitted.

In response, Siemens Energy said, “Such leaks do not normally affect the operation of a turbine and can be sealed on site. It is a routine procedure within the scope of maintenance work.”

The German giant added, “We have already pointed out several times that there are sufficient other turbines available at the Portovaya compressor station for Nord Stream 1 to operate.”

How has Germany reacted to the shutdown?

Klaus Mueller, president of the Bundesnetzagentur, Germany’s gas regulator, said, “For the time being, the LNG terminals, the relevant storage levels & significant savings requirements are becoming more important.”

He added, “It’s good that Germany is now better prepared, but now it’s down to each and everyone.”

A spokesperson for Germany’s Economy Minister noted, “We have seen Russia’s unreliability in past weeks and so have continued to take measures to reinforce our independence from Russian energy imports,”

Last month, Robert Habeck, Germany’s Economy Minister, said, “They don’t even have the guts to say ‘we are in an economic war with you.'”

EU gas prices soar amid pipeline shutdowns

Gas prices in Europe have soared, harming households and industry alike.

While European Commission head Ursula von der Leyen has argued in support of price caps on Russian gas to Europe as a result, Moscow has pushed back arguing that would be sufficient cause to halt sales to Europe all together.

“We see that the electricity market does not work anymore. because it is massively disrupted due to Putin’s manipulations,” she said.

On Wednesday, Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said Siemens Energy, a pipeline equipment supplier, could not carry out regular maintenance because of sanctions.

In June, Russia reduced flows through the pipeline to 40% of capacity and further to 20% in July.

ar/wd (AFP, Reuters, dpa)

Read More:Nord Stream 1: Russia’s Gazprom announces indefinite shutdown of pipeline | DW | 02.09.2022