Russia to further reduce gas supply to EU
Russia's energy giant Gazprom claims that it will again substantially reduce the EU's gas supply through its main pipeline due to maintenance work.
Gazprom stated that shutting down another turbine on the Nord Stream 1 line would reduce daily gas production to 20 percent, halving the current supply level.
The German government declared that there is no technical reason to restrict gas supply.
It is likely that it will be harder for EU countries to replenish their gas reserves before winter.
The Nord Stream 1 pipeline, which carries gas from Russia to Germany, has been significantly under capacity for weeks and was completely closed for a 10-day maintenance pause earlier this month.
Russia provided the EU with 40 percent of its gas last year, and the EU blamed Russia for using energy as a weapon.
The European Commission has called on countries to reduce their gas consumption by 15% over the next seven months after Russia warned that it could reduce or stop supply altogether.
According to the proposals, the voluntary target could be made mandatory in case of an emergency.
The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has declared that the prospect of Russia interrupting all deliveries to the EU is a “probable scenario”.
Energy ministers are meeting in Brussels on Tuesday to try to sign the plans.
But many opt-outs are expected within the context of the resistance of certain Member States.
Wholesale gas prices have skyrocketed since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, affecting consumer energy costs.
Responding to Gazprom’s announcement, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky declared that it was “an open gas war that Russia is waging against a united Europe – this is precisely the way it should be perceived”.
Gazprom said the last cut in supply would start at 04:00 GMT on Wednesday because of the ‘technical condition’ of one of the last two turbines in service.
But a spokesperson for the German Ministry of Economy told the AFP news agency: “According to the information we have, there is no technical reason for reducing deliveries.”
The Kremlin maintains that it is a reliable partner in the energy sector and attributes the Western sanctions to the recent disruption of the EU’s gas supply.
Gazprom stated that the return – because of sanctions – of equipment maintained in Canada has forced it to keep e gas passes through Nord Stream 1 at only 40 percent of its capacity.
“Our product, our rules. We don’t play by the rules we haven’t established,” said Alexei Miller, CEO of Gazprom.
The continuous reduction of gas supply via Nord Stream 1 is likely to make it more difficult for countries to replenish their stocks prior to winter when gas use is much higher.
Gazprom reduced its supplies to Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, and Poland over their refusal to conform to a Kremlin in order to pay their invoices in rubles, instead of the euro or dollars.