Russia’s Gazprom keeps gas pipeline to Germany switched off
BERLIN (AP) — Russian energy giant Gazprom said Friday that it can’t resume the supply of natural gas through a…
BERLIN (AP) — Russian energy giant Gazprom said Friday that it can’t resume the supply of natural gas through a key pipeline to Germany for now because of what it said was a need for urgent maintenance work, just hours before it was due to recommence deliveries.
The Russian state-run energy company had shut down the Nord Stream 1 pipeline on Wednesday for what it said would be three days of work.
It said in a social media post Friday evening that it had identified “malfunctions” of a turbine and added that the pipeline would not work unless those were eliminated.
It was the latest development in a saga in which Gazprom has advanced technical problems as the reason for reducing gas flows through Nord Stream 1 — explanations that German officials have rejected as a cover for a political power play following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Gazprom said it had identified oil leaks from four turbines at the Portovaya compressor station at the Russian end of the pipeline, including the sole operational one. It claimed to have received warnings from Russia’s industrial safety watchdog that the leaks “do not allow for safe, trouble-free operation of the gas turbine engine.”
“In connection with this, it is necessary to take appropriate measures and suspend further operation of the … gas compressor unit in connection with the identified gross (safety) violations,” the company said.
Gazprom started cutting supplies through Nord Stream 1 in mid-June, blaming delays to the delivery of a turbine that had been sent to Canada for repair. Canada has since allowed the turbine’s delivery to Germany, which has said that nothing stands in the way of it being sent to Russia other than Russia saying it wants the part.
In recent weeks, Nord Stream 1 has been running at only 20% of capacity.
Russia, which before the reductions started accounted for a bit more than a third of Germany’s gas supplies, has also reduced the flow of gas to other European countries which have sided with Ukraine in the war.
Natural gas is used to power industry, heat homes and offices, and generate electricity. Increasing the amount in reserve has been a key focus of the German government since Russia invaded Ukraine, to avoid rationing for industry as demand rises in the winter.
Germany’s storage facilities are now over 84% full.
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