Russia scraps Nord Stream 1 reopening, stoking European fuel fears –


Russia has scrapped a Saturday 3 September deadline to renew flows by way of a significant fuel provide path to Germany, deepening Europe’s difficulties in securing winter gasoline, after saying it had discovered faults within the Nord Stream 1 pipeline throughout upkeep.

Nord Stream 1, which runs underneath the Baltic Sea, had been as a consequence of resume working at 0100 GMT on Saturday after a three-day halt for upkeep.

However Gazprom, the state-controlled agency with a monopoly on Russian fuel exports by way of pipeline, mentioned on Friday it couldn’t safely restart deliveries till it had mounted an oil leak present in an important turbine. It didn’t give a brand new time-frame.

Nonetheless, Siemens Power, which usually providers Nord Stream 1 generators, mentioned such a leak mustn’t cease the pipeline from working. It additionally mentioned the Portovaya compressor station, the place the leak was found, has different generators for Nord Stream to maintain working.

“Such leaks don’t usually have an effect on the operation of a turbine and might be sealed on website. It’s a routine process inside the scope of upkeep work,” the corporate mentioned.

Moscow has blamed sanctions, imposed by the West after Russia invaded Ukraine, for hampering routine operations and upkeep of Nord Stream 1. Brussels says this can be a pretext and Russia is utilizing fuel as an financial weapon to retaliate.

“That is a part of Russia’s psychological struggle towards us,” tweeted Michael Roth, chair of the German parliamentary overseas affairs committee.

Siemens Power mentioned it isn’t at present contracted to hold out upkeep work on the road, however is on standby.

European Fee chief Ursula von der Leyen mentioned earlier the EU ought to impose a value cap on Russian pipeline fuel to foil what she mentioned had been President Vladimir Putin’s makes an attempt to control the market.

Russia has denied earlier allegations of utilizing fuel as an financial weapon or manipulating the fuel market.

The USA and Europe had been collaborating to make sure sufficient power provides had been obtainable, a spokesperson for the White Home’s Nationwide Safety Council mentioned on Friday.

“It’s sadly not shocking that Russia continues to make use of power as a weapon towards European customers,” the spokesperson added.

Wholesale fuel costs have rocketed 400% since August 2021, hurting European trade and households as demand recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic and due to the Ukraine disaster.

“We see that the electrical energy market doesn’t work anymore as a result of it’s massively disrupted as a consequence of Putin’s manipulations,” Von der Leyen mentioned, including {that a} fuel value cap on Russian pipeline provides could possibly be proposed on the European degree.

Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev mentioned Moscow would flip off provides to Europe if Brussels imposed such a cap.

“There’ll merely be no Russian fuel in Europe,” he wrote on the Telegram app in response to Von der Leyen.

Diminished deliveries by way of Nord Stream, alongside decrease fuel flows by way of Ukraine, one other main route, have already left European states struggling to refill storage tanks for winter and prompted many to set off emergency plans that might result in power rationing and stoking issues about recession.

European Fee spokesman Eric Mamer wrote on Twitter that Gazprom had acted underneath “fallacious pretences” to close down Nord Stream 1. “It’s additionally proof of Russia’s cynicism, because it prefers to flare fuel as a substitute of honouring contracts.”

Group of Seven finance ministers agreed on Friday to place a value cap on Russian oil exports. Moscow mentioned it will halt oil gross sales to nations imposing the cap, including that the transfer would destabilize oil markets. Russia is the world’s greatest exporter of crude and gasoline mixed.

‘Higher ready’

Germany’s community regulator mentioned the nation was extra prepared to deal with a disruption to Russian provides, however households and firms needed to lower power consumption.

“It’s good that Germany is now higher ready, however now it’s down to every and everybody,” Klaus Mueller, president of the Bundesnetzagentur, mentioned on Twitter.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov instructed earlier on Friday there could possibly be extra disruptions to deliveries by way of Nord Stream 1.

“It’s not the fault of Gazprom that the sources are lacking. Due to this fact, the reliability of your complete system is in danger,” he mentioned when requested if extra outages could possibly be anticipated.

Gazprom Chief Govt Alexei Miller mentioned on Wednesday that sanctions meant Siemens couldn’t perform common upkeep.

EU governments have been making ready for the likelihood that Russia stops deliveries fully, after Gazprom first decreased flows in June after which once more in July.

This week’s upkeep was introduced at brief discover.

Germany, which is especially reliant on Russian provides, has been racing to fill its storage tanks earlier than winter. That storage is now practically 85% full, however Berlin says reaching a 95% goal by 1 November shall be robust until firms and households use much less gasoline.

The EU has exceeded its 80% goal for storage to be full by 1 October, prepared for when heating utilization picks up, however that won’t maintain Europe via the winter if Russia retains the faucets closed.

Some energy-intensive European firms, corresponding to fertiliser and aluminium producers, have already lower output as a consequence of sky-high energy costs, whereas some home customers have reined in utilization to save lots of on escalating power payments.

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