Europe braces for extended shutdown of Russian gas supplies: Reports

As repair on the Nord Stream 1 pipeline that transports gas to Germany over the Baltic Sea gets underway, Europe is preparing for a lengthy shutdown of Russian gas supplies.

The project’s operator, Nord Stream AG, stated that it began as scheduled on Monday morning and would last until July 21. Later in the day, there should be no more Russian gas flowing through the pipeline.

With an annual capacity of 55 billion cubic meters of gas from Russia to Germany, the Nord Stream 1 pipeline is Europe’s single largest piece of gas import infrastructure.

Europe is concerned that the delivery ban might go longer than the allotted ten days, putting the region’s winter supply planning at risk and escalating the gas crisis that has already resulted in increasing home energy costs and the emergency action of policymakers.

In order to supply households with enough fuel to keep the lights on and houses warm over the winter, European governments are rushing to fill underground storage facilities with supplies of gas.

In reaction to President Vladimir Putin’s months-long assault in Ukraine, the EU, which gets around 40% of its gas from Russian pipelines, is quickly reducing its reliance on Russian hydrocarbons.

Energy regulator in Germany, Klaus Mueller, thinks the Kremlin may keep squeezing Europe’s energy supply after the maintenance work is supposed to be finished.

Mueller shared the information, “We cannot rule out the possibility that gas transport will not be resumed afterwards for political reasons.”

Energy specialists concur that the likelihood of a brief disruption is considerable, especially given the recent 60 percent decline in Russian gas shipments.

According to Russia’s state-owned energy giant Gazprom, reduced flows have been attributed to equipment maintained in Canada by Germany’s Siemens Energy.

In addition to extending sanctions against Russia’s energy industry, Canada said over the weekend that it would send a repaired gas turbine back to Germany for use in the Nord Stream 1 pipeline.

Last week, Russia declared that if the turbine being fixed in Canada were returned, it would enhance gas shipments to Europe. According to Reuters, Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for the Kremlin, also denied allegations that Russia was putting political pressure on Europe through its use of gas and oil.

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