Russian GasRussian giant Gazprom announced on Friday that the Nord Stream gas pipeline, vital for supplies to Europe, would be “completely” shut down until a turbine can be repaired.
In a statement, Gazprom said an “oil leak” was discovered in the turbine during this maintenance operation. “Until repairs (…) gas transport through Nord Stream will be completely suspended”, the committee pointed out.
Russia was due to resume gas supplies via the Nord Stream pipeline on Saturday after another three-day break that eased European nerves to avoid an energy crisis this winter.
On Friday, Gazprom confirmed that it had discovered these technical problems during a technical inspection carried out with representatives of Siemens, the German group that manufactures the turbine. The Russian team reports an “oil leak” in “cables connected to one of the rotor’s speedometers”. On Telegram, the team posted a photo showing cables surrounded by a brown liquid.
Earlier in the day, the Kremlin said the operation of the Nord Stream gas pipeline was “threatened” by a shortage of spare parts due to sanctions aimed at Moscow over its offensive in Ukraine. In particular, Russia says the sanctions prevent the return of a Siemens turbine sent to Canada for repairs. Germany, where the turbine is located, on the other hand, confirms that it is Moscow that prevents the return of this important piece.
Since the Kremlin’s military intervention in Ukraine began at the end of February, Moscow has sharply cut gas supplies to Europeans in response to massive Western sanctions. Europeans, who are heavily dependent on Russian gas, accuse the Kremlin of using it as a means of pressure, which Moscow denies, fueling technical problems caused by sanctions or late payments.
“Gazprom’s announcement Friday afternoon that it is shutting down Nord Stream 1 again under false pretenses further confirms that it should not be trusted as a supplier,” spokesman Eric Maymer tweeted. “This is a sign of Russia’s cynical nature, which will burn gas without honoring its agreements.”
Nord Stream 1 was due to return to service on Saturday after several days of maintenance, but Gazprom announced on Friday evening that an oil leak had been discovered at the Portovaja compressor station. The pipe is closed until it is repaired.
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