Reduced Russian gas flow is political, says a German official

BERLIN – Russia’s announcement to reduce natural gas flow through a key European pipeline by about 40% appears to be more of a political move than the result of technical problems, Germany’s vice chancellor said on Wednesday.

Russia’s state-controlled energy giant Gazprom told Italian gas giant Eni on Wednesday that it would cut gas through another pipeline by about 15%. The reason for the reduction was not made clear and the Italian company said it was monitoring the situation.

The reduced flows follow those of Russia Stop of natural gas deliveries to Bulgaria, Poland, Finland, Netherlands, Denmark as Europe works to reduce its dependence on Russian energy amidst the war in Ukraine. Gas demand has fallen after the end of the winter heating season, but European utilities have Race to replenish memory before next winter r with high prices and uncertain supplies.


While the gas storage tanks are filling up well, the shutdowns and reductions are still happening Explosion at a liquefied natural gas terminal in Texas Most of whose exports went to Europe, putting further pressure on the tight natural gas market, said Simone Tagliapietra, an energy expert at the Bruegel think tank in Brussels. He urged Europe “not to be complacent and urgently step up coordination” so that the continent “is prepared for a potentially difficult winter”.

This was announced by Gazprom on Tuesday Deliveries through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Europe would fall after Canadian wartime sanctions prevented German partner Siemens Energy from supplying refurbished equipment.


According to Siemens Energy, a gas turbine powering a compressor station on the pipeline had been in operation for more than 10 years and was shipped to Montreal for a scheduled overhaul. However, due to the sanctions imposed by Canada, the company could not return the equipment to the customer Gazprom.

German Vice-Chancellor Robert Habeck, who is also the country’s economy minister and in charge of energy, told reporters in Berlin that he had reached an agreement with the European Union’s executive committee that maintenance of Siemens compressor stations on the pipeline would not be subject to EU sanctions.

He said officials are in contact with Canada to see what’s possible under Ottawa’s sanctions. But he added that according to German knowledge, the first “relevant” maintenance is not due until the autumn, and because there are several such installations, that would not explain a 40 percent reduction.


“That’s why I also have the impression that what happened yesterday is a political decision and not a technically justifiable decision,” said Habeck. “We’ll have to wait and see how this will affect the European and German gas market. As a rule, the suppliers have always managed to procure gas from other sources.”

He said there was no supply problem in Germany, which gets about 35% of its natural gas to the power industry and power generation from Russia, and it should be able to keep replenishing reserves.

The EU has outlined plans for this reduce dependency on Russian gas by two-thirds by the end of the year. Economists say a full shutdown would make a deal hard hit for business, consumers and gas-intensive industries.


“Anyone who has the feeling that all their homework has been done and that everything is going well is wrong,” said Habeck. “It’s not over yet. It may only be just beginning… to become independent of fossil energy, and Russian fossil energy must be pushed forward at full speed.”


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Sarah Y. Kim

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