Putin Warns of Nord Stream 1 Gas Capacity Cuts over Turbine Repairs

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday (20 July) that capacity of the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline, the single largest link for Russian gas supplies to Europe, could be further reduced due to slow progress in equipment maintenance.
Nord Stream 1, which runs on the bed of the Baltic Sea to Germany, has been in focus since Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February in what Moscow describes as a “special military operation.”
The pipeline is staying idle for annual maintenance from 11 to 21 July. Sources told Reuters that Nord Stream is expected to resume gas exports as scheduled but at reduced capacity.
Speaking to reporters after his visit to Tehran, Putin said there were five gas pumping units, operated by Siemens Energy at Nord Stream 1, while one more unit was out of order due to “crumbling of inside lining.”
“There are two functioning machines there, they pump 60 million cubic metres per day … If one is not returned, there will be one, which is 30 million cubic metres. Has Gazprom something to do with that?” Putin said, adding that one more of the gas pumping turbines is due to be sent for maintenance on 26 July.
Nord Stream 1 has capacity to pump more than 55 billion cubic metres (bcm) a year to the European Union, which last year imported about 140 bcm of gas from Russia via pipelines.
Kremlin-controlled energy giant Gazprom cut gas exports through the route to 40% capacity last month, citing delays in the return of a turbine Siemens Energy was servicing in Canada, which had initially banned the equipment return, citing sanctions.
The Kommersant newspaper reported on Monday, citing people familiar with the situation, that Canada had eventually sent the turbine needed for Nord Stream 1 to Germany by plane on 17 July after repair work had been completed.
Putin also said that Gazprom was not to blame for the reduction of gas transit capacity, including shutting down one of the routes via Ukraine to Europe by Kyiv.
He added that Gazprom was ready to fulfil its obligations on gas exports.
Flows to resume
Russian gas flows via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline are seen restarting on time on Thursday after the completion of scheduled maintenance, two sources familiar with the export plans told Reuters.
The sources, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said the pipeline was expected to resume operation on time, but at less than its capacity of some 160 million cubic metres (mcm) per day.
“They (Gazprom) will return to the levels seen before July 11,” one of the sources said of the gas volumes expected via Nord Stream 1 from Thursday.
The EU is making contingency plans in case of further reductions or even complete stop of Russian gas deliveries, but experts warn that the full volume of missing supplies cannot be replaced.
Brussels is expected to publish plans on Wednesday for how the 27 EU members can reduce gas use.

About Parvin Faghfouri Azar

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