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Russia Broadcasts Deeper Cuts in Natural Gas Flows to Germany


BERLIN — Russia’s state-owned gas monopoly, Gazprom, said on Monday that it could further reduce the quantity of natural gas it sends to Germany through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, lower than every week after it resumed limited flows after an annual maintenance shutdown.

Flows had already been reduce to 40 percent of capability, but Gazprom said that it could crimp them to twenty percent starting Wednesday, citing problems with certainly one of the powerful turbines which can be manufactured by the German company, Siemens Energy. The turbines construct pressure inside the pipeline to ship the gas long distances.

In mid-June Russia began cutting the quantity of gas shipped through the 760-mile undersea pipeline, blaming the reduction on a missing turbine that had been shipped to Canada for repairs.

On Monday, Gazprom said on its social media accounts that it was “shutting down another gas turbine engine produced by Siemens.”

Germany’s economy ministry has all along rejected Gazprom’s argument that a damaged turbine was responsible for restrictions in gas flows, saying as a substitute that the cutbacks were one other way for Russia to punish Europe for opposing the war in Ukraine.

The Berlin government pushed back against Gazprom’s latest projected cut.

“Based on our information there is no such thing as a technical reason for a discount in deliveries,” the German economy ministry said in a press release that followed Gazprom’s announcement.

Observers said the move smacked of President Vladimir V. Putin’s intention to make use of Russia’s energy exports as a cudgel to punish and divide European leaders by loosening or tightening the taps because it suits him and his war goals in Ukraine.Natural gas prices in Europe jumped 12 percent on Monday, in line with the regional benchmark contract for gas traded within the Netherlands. The worth of natural gas has greater than doubled this 12 months, to around 180 euros ($184) per megawatt hour.

“Gazprom’s announcement mustn’t surprise,” said Simone Tagliapietra, a senior fellow at Bruegel, a think tank based in Brussels. “Russia is playing a strategic game here. Fluctuating already low flows is healthier than a full cutoff because it manipulates the market and optimizes geopolitical impact.”

European Union energy ministers are meeting in Brussels on Tuesday to debate a proposal to get residents and businesses of the 27-member bloc to save lots of energy. But divisions have emerged as countries, that don’t rely heavily on Russian gas, equivalent to Greece and Spain, have chafed at the concept of needing to chop consumption to assist Germany, their wealthy northern partner.

Before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Germany relied on Russia to supply 55 percent of its overall natural gas needs. It has cut that share to 30 percent over the past for months, but is scrambling to save lots of enough of the fuel to make sure that it’ll have sufficient stores to get through the winter.

Hours before Gazprom announced the fresh cuts, the top of Germany’s network regulator, Klaus Müller, said the country’s storage facilities had reached 65.9 percent capability, and were subsequently “finally back on course.” The goal is for storage to be 75 percent full by the start of September.

Gazprom’s announcement must have made it clear to all European Union members how crucial it’s that they move quickly and decisively to begin saving gas, Mr. Tagliapietra said. “Motion on this can’t be delayed any more.”

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