Gazprom: supply through the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline has been suspended indefinitely

Photo by Lisi Niesner (Reuters/Scanpix).

Russian energy giant Gazprom said the Nord Stream 1 pipeline would not restart as scheduled on Saturday due to a turbine engine failure.

Added a comment from the German Ministry of Economy

In a statement, the company did not give a timeline for restarting the pipeline, saying it had discovered an oil leak during maintenance on a gas turbine operating at the Portovaya compressor station near St. Petersburg.

Gazprom says the same problems – oil leaks – have been found in three other Nord Stream 1 turbines. These faults can only be fixed at the factory in Canada.

At the same time, the Chairman of the Gazprom Board, Alexey Miller, stated that such repairs are impossible due to sanctions.

Gazprom suspended gas supplies to Germany through the pipeline for three days on Wednesday to carry out maintenance work, adding to tensions in Europe’s troubled electricity market. The supply through the gas pipeline laid on the bottom of the Baltic Sea was supposed to resume on Saturday.

Germany said on Friday it would be able to continue its gas supply despite Gazprom’s move.

“The situation in the gas market is tense, but the security of supply is ensured,” said the statement of the representative of the Ministry of Economy.

The spokeswoman did not comment on Gazprom’s report in detail, but indicated that Berlin “has already seen Russia’s unreliability in recent weeks.”

The Kremlin said earlier on Friday that the Nord Stream pipeline, which supplies Russian gas to Europe, may face technical problems in the future after ongoing maintenance work.

“There are no technical reserves, only one turbine is working,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

“Thus, the reliability of the entire system is at risk,” he said, adding that it was not Gazprom’s fault.

Europe has been tense with energy prices soaring after Russia cut gas supplies as Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine continues.

Germany, heavily dependent on Russian gas, has accused Moscow of using energy as a “weapon”.

In July, Gazprom suspended supplies to Nord Stream 1 for 10 days, also due to maintenance work. After they were completed, the gas supply was restored, but after only a few days it was drastically reduced, allegedly due to a technical failure of the turbine.

The Russian company claims that the important turbine cannot be returned to the pumping station due to sanctions imposed on Moscow. However, Germany, where the said turbine was located at the time, said that Russia itself was effectively blocking this transfer.

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