Russia’s Gazprom halts gas flows to Europe indefinitely
Russian energy giant Gazprom canceled Saturday’s deadline and indefinitely extended gas cuts to Europe.
The state-owned energy company indicated urgent maintenance was behind its cause on Friday and did not say when it intends to reopen the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, which distributes natural gas to Europe via Germany.
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The announcement came just hours before Gazprom is due to reopen the gates after it shut down gas supplies late last month for “routine maintenance”.
In a social media post, Gazprom claimed it had identified “malfunctions” in the turbines and claimed that the pipeline would not operate unless these problems were corrected.
But Friday night’s announcement is just the latest in a series of measures the company has taken since June that have reduced the flow of gas to Europe amid Russia’s disputed war in Ukraine.
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Europe has accused Russia of using its gas supplies as a political tool as countries across the continent look to boost their gas stocks and energy supplies ahead of the winter months.
Russia has blamed sweeping international sanctions for its war in Ukraine as a major factor in its inability to effectively maintain the Nord Stream 1 pipeline.
In July, Gazprom reportedly sent a 20-ton Siemens power turbine to Canada for repairs after being granted a waiver.
But the German company that makes the turbines indicated that the move was politically motivated and said, “Such leaks usually do not affect the operation of the turbines and can be shut down on site. It is a routine procedure within the scope of maintenance work.”
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“We have already indicated several times that there are enough other turbines available at the Portovaia compressor station for Nord Stream 1 to operate,” Siemens Energy added in a statement on Friday.
Officials have expressed growing concern about what low gas stocks and crippling inflation could mean for Europeans as they try to heat their homes this winter.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.