Russia may restart gas exports to Europe on schedule

Nord Stream 1 pipeline was earlier shut for annual maintenance

REUTERS July 20, 2022
Oil and gas tanks are seen at an oil warehouse at a port in Zhuhai, China October 22, 2018. PHOTO: REUTERS


Russian gas flows via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline are seen restarting on time on Thursday after the completion of scheduled maintenance, two sources familiar with the export plans told Reuters.

The pipeline, which accounts for more than a third of Russian natural gas exports to the European Union, was halted for 10 days of annual maintenance on July 11.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing European Budget Commissioner Johannes Hahn, that the European Commission did not expect the pipeline to restart after the maintenance.

The sources, speaking on condition of anonymity because of sensitivity of the issue, told Reuters the pipeline was expected to resume operation on time, but at less than its capacity of some 160 million cubic metres (mcm) per day.

Kremlin-controlled energy giant Gazprom cut gas exports through the route to 40% capacity last month, citing delays in the return of a turbine Siemens Energy was servicing in Canada.

“They (Gazprom) will return to the levels seen before July 11,” one of the sources said of the gas volumes expected via Nord Stream 1 from Thursday.

The Kommersant newspaper reported on Monday, citing people familiar with the situation, that Canada had sent the turbine to Germany by plane on July 17, after repair work had been completed.

One of the sources said the turbine was unlikely to be re-installed by July 21. Gazprom and Nord Stream 1 had not replied to requests for comments on Tuesday.

On Monday, Gazprom declared force majeure on gas supplies to Europe to at least one major customer, according to a letter from the Russian company that will add to European fears of fuel shortages.

Dated July 14, the legal force of the letter is to shield Gazprom from compensation payments for disrupted supplies, but risks escalating tensions between Russia and the West over the invasion of Ukraine that Moscow calls a “special military operation”.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 20th, 2022.

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