Russia will once again shut off European gas through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline

An arbitrary maintenance order on the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, which runs from the Baltic Sea to Germany, deepens the energy standoff between Moscow and Brussels, which has already helped fuel inflation in the region and increased the risk of rationing and recession.

The three-day shutdown is due to maintenance on the pipeline’s remaining gas compressor, though the move will further disrupt Germany, which depends heavily on deliveries from Moscow to power its industry.
The latest shutdown follows a 10-day scheduled annual maintenance that took place in July and raised fears that Russia will resume supplies that have been reduced since mid-June.
Germany already had to give Uniper — its biggest importer of Russian gas and the highest-profile corporate victim of Europe’s energy crisis — a 15 billion euro ($15.1 billion) bailout after Russia sharply cut flows, forcing it to buy the gas. For higher prices elsewhere.

The broader German economic impact was highlighted in Friday’s producer price data, which saw their biggest increase in July, year-on-year and month-on-month, as fuel costs soared.

German dependency

The Nord Stream pipeline is already running at about a fifth of its capacity, prompting fears that Russia could stop flowing completely by the winter heat season and find it difficult to fill storage facilities.

Germany has made targeted efforts to prepare its storage facilities, with the level at 78.19% as of August 17, slightly higher than 75.89% for the European Union as a whole.

After maintenance is completed and “in the absence of technical malfunctions,” the flow of 33 million cubic meters (mcm) per day — corresponding to current volumes — will resume, Gazprom said.

This is still only 20% of Nord Stream’s full capacity of 167 mcm.

Gazprom said maintenance work at the remaining Trent 60 gas compressor station will be carried out jointly with Siemens. The Russian group has previously blamed faulty or delayed equipment for low flows. Germany says this is a pretext to harm its economy.

Siemens Energy, which is responsible for operating the Nord Stream 1 turbines, declined to comment.

Earlier, senior German politicians from the ruling parties rejected suggestions that the gas shortage could be eased by allowing the suspended Nord Stream 2 pipeline to go into service, a solution suggested by the Kremlin.

“I strongly suggest that we retain the shame of always asking (Russian President Vladimir) Putin for something that we are not going to get,” said Kevin Kuhnert, second in command of Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democrats.

“Dependence on him must end once and for all,” he added in an interview with the website T-Online.

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