Europe sees Russian gas flows restart, amid winter fears


Fuel flows via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline restarted on Thursday (21 July) after 10 days of upkeep work, easing considerations over German storage ranges and provides from Russia.

The pipeline, connecting Russia and Germany, is predicted to produce 530 GWh throughout the day, in response to knowledge despatched by Gazprom to Gascade, the German grid operator.

However this represents solely 30 % of its capability, the president of the German Community Company, Klaus Müller, mentioned on Twitter.

Russian power large Gazprom lowered fuel deliveries via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Germany by 60 % final month, citing technical issues — and amid rising fears that Russia would fully shut the fuel faucets after the technical annual upkeep interval, which started on July 11.

Berlin noticed the transfer as one other instance of how Russia has weaponised power provides because the battle in Ukraine started.

On Wednesday, Russian president Vladimir Putin mentioned the controversial however presently mothballed Nord Stream 2 could be an possibility to extend fuel provides to Europe.

“We’ve one other route prepared — it’s Nord Stream 2. It may be launched,” Putin mentioned, in response to the Russian information company Tass.

The certification of the controversial export fuel pipeline from Russia to Germany below the Baltic Sea was scrapped in February, amid the scramble by the EU plus Western allies to impose an preliminary set of sanctions towards Russian officers. It had been accomplished however not put into use.

‘Save Fuel for a Secure Winter’ slogan

In the meantime, the EU has put ahead a brand new “demand-reduction plan” to organize for attainable additional fuel provide disruptions of a full cut-off subsequent winter.

The ‘Save Fuel for a Secure Winter’ EU bundle has been welcomed by Germany, whose dependency on power imports from Russia has been rising within the final 20 years.

“European solidarity is extra vital than ever in these instances (…) One decisive lever is to scale back fuel consumption. All of us have to work on this with all our may,” mentioned German minister for economic system and local weather motion, Robert Habeck.

Spain, for its half, rejected the European Fee’s proposal to lower the bloc’s fuel use by 15 % over the subsequent eight months. “No matter occurs, Spanish households is not going to endure fuel or electrical energy cuts of their houses,” ecological transition minister Teresa Ribera instructed reporters in Madrid on Wednesday.

The pinnacle of the Worldwide Power Company (IEA), Fatih Birol, welcomed plans to scale back fuel consumption within the bloc, arguing that the subsequent few months are essential to getting ready for “a tricky winter”

“This winter may turn into a historic check of European solidarity — one it can’t afford to fail,” Birol mentioned earlier this week.

Within the state of affairs of a full cut-off of Russian fuel, the EU must fill its fuel storage services to above 90 % of their capability to get via the approaching winter, though the chance of provide disruption would nonetheless stay, in response to the IEA.

The bloc has dedicated to filling fuel storage services as much as a minimum of 80 % of their capability by 1 November — though efforts to scale back imports of Russian fuel by two-thirds this yr additionally embrace having a standard buy of fuel and the diversification of fuel provides.

Within the meantime, Russia’s oil and fuel export revenues (€93bn) have doubled since its invasion of Ukraine.

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