Russian Gas Pipeline Down for Annual “Maintenance”, Germany Unsure If It Will Ever Turn on Again

According to the Associated Press, there is German concern that Russia may not resume the flow of gas as scheduled, from a major gas pipeline from Russia to Germany, that was shutting down for annual maintenance on Monday.

The German news agency DPA also reported, that the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, Germany’s main source of Russian gas, is scheduled to be out of action until July 21 for routine work that the operator says includes “testing of mechanical elements and automation systems.” Starting at 6 a.m., the operator said that the gas flow would be reduced progressively.

After Russia’s Gazprom last month reduced the gas flow through Nord Stream 1 by 60%, German officials became suspicious about Russia’s intentions, particularly when Gazprom cited technical problems involving a gas turbine, powering a compressor station, that partner Siemens Energy, sent to Canada for maintenance but couldn’t be returned because of sanctions imposed over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Then over the weekend, Canada said that it would allow the part to be delivered to Germany, citing the “very significant hardship” that the German economy would suffer without a sufficient gas supply.

Saying the decision was a political gambit, to sow uncertainty and push up prices, German politicians have dismissed Russia’s technical explanation for last month’s reduction in gas flows through Nord Stream 1. German Vice Chancellor, Robert Habeck, suspects that Russia may cite, in his words, “some little technical detail” as a reason not to resume gas deliveries through the pipeline after maintenance is completed.

Scrambling to reduce their dependence on Russian energy imports, Germany and the rest of Europe are working on a plan to avoid an economic crisis. This circumstance could prove difficult as Germany, Europe´s biggest economy, gets about 35% of its gas to power industry and generate electricity from Russia.

Activating the second phase of Germany´s three-stage emergency plan, for natural gas supplies, last month, Habeck warned that Europe´s biggest economy faced a “crisis” and storage targets for the winter were at risk.  The world, it seems, continues to be significantly affected by Russia’s war with Ukraine.

“The cost of war is like an immeasurable tremor that knows no borders, its shockwaves reverberating across the world resulting in universal suffering.”

-Aysha Taryam

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