Russia resumed gas supplies through a critical pipeline to Europe on Thursday after a 10-day maintenance period, in a move that will be met with huge relief in the continent’s capitals.
Nord Stream 1, which runs under the Baltic Sea between Russia and Germany, had been shut down for repairs, but many in Berlin and Brussels feared it would not come back online as scheduled after the outage.
However, Nord Stream AG, the operator, said gas was flowing again. “We are in the process of resuming gas transportation, though it could take a few hours to reach the nominated volumes,” a spokesperson said.
Data on Nord Stream 1’s website showed 21mn kilowatt hours-worth of gas flowed through the pipeline between 6am and 7am on Thursday.
Germany had been worried that a shut-off would stymie its plans to stock up on gas ahead of the winter heating season, stoking fears that it would have to introduce gas rationing for industrial customers.
Economists had warned that if Russia turned off the gas tap, Europe’s largest economy would plunge into recession.
European gas prices have surged over the past year, reaching a record high shortly after Russia launched its attack on Ukraine on February 24. While prices have fallen, they are still nine times higher than the average over the past five years.
Although the resumption of supplies through Nord Stream 1 was good news for European governments, deliveries are expected to be far lower than they were before the war in Ukraine.
Klaus Müller, the head of Germany’s energy regulator, said the volumes that Gazprom, Russia’s gas exporter, had nominated for Thursday represented just 30 per cent of Nord Stream 1’s capacity.
Even before the pipeline was shut down for maintenance, Russia had reduced the flow of gas through NS1 by 60 per cent, citing technical reasons.
Russia blamed delays in the return of a Siemens Energy turbine used to pump gas through the pipeline that had undergone routine maintenance in Canada. The Canadian government refused to send it back to Russia, citing its sanctions regime against Moscow over the invasion of Ukraine.
But Germany said Russia was only using the turbine issue as a pretext to cut supplies and accused it of “weaponising” its energy exports to Europe. Canada eventually exempted the turbine from its sanctions regime and gave permission for it to be sent to Germany.
Credit: Source link