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Gazprom Announces Indefinite Shutdown of Nord Stream 1
By Staff, Agencies
The Russian energy giant Gazprom extended the shutdown of gas flows through its key Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Germany on Friday evening, providing no timeframe for a reopening.
The move came hours after the G7 countries agreed to impose a price cap on Russian oil in an attempt to stem the flow of funds to Moscow.
Gazprom, the state-owned oil and gas firm, said supplies would remain halted indefinitely after a leak was detected. It said the pipeline would not restart until repairs were fully implemented.
Nord Stream 1 is the single biggest pipeline for gas from Russia to Europe and has the capacity to deliver 55bn cubic meters of gas a year. Continued supplies through the pipeline are seen as crucial to prevent a deepening of the energy crisis.
In a statement on Telegram, Gazprom said: “Gas transportation to the Nord Stream gas pipeline has been completely halted until the complaints on the operation of the equipment have been eliminated.”
It said in the social media post it had identified “malfunctions” on a key turbine along the pipeline, which carries natural gas from western Russia to Germany, and that the pipeline would not work unless these were eliminated.
Early on Wednesday, Gazprom completely halted the flow of gas through Nord Stream 1, in line with an earlier announcement, adding that the stoppage would last for three days. Flows were due to resume just after midnight on Saturday morning.
The company said work was necessary on the only remaining functioning turbine at the Portovaya compressor station at the Russian end of the pipeline, but German officials cast doubt on that explanation.
The timing of the move will raise questions over whether Russian President Vladimir Putin was responding to the impending imposition of a cap on Russian oil. Finance ministers from the UK, US, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Canada on Friday agreed a plan to put a ceiling on Russian oil prices.
The proposal would mean importers seeking shipping services and insurance cover from companies based in G7 and EU countries would need to adhere to a price cap to transport Russian oil. It is likely to be introduced from December.
The shutoff will add to concerns that Europe, and Germany in particular, will be forced to significantly curtail power usage for households and businesses this year.
European countries have rushed to fill up their gas storage facilities in case Russia shuts off gas supplies completely this winter. Germany’s storage facilities are now more than 84% full.
The head of Germany’s network regulatory agency, Klaus Mueller, tweeted that the Russian decision to keep Nord Stream 1 switched off for now increases the significance of new liquefied natural gas terminals that Germany plans to start running this winter, gas storage and “significant needs to save” gas.
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