Russia temporarily stops gas flow through major pipeline, Europe readies for shutdown

3D illustration: steel gas pipe with flags of European union and Russia with a red valve and a blue pressure gauge on white background. Pipeline to Europe. Russian-American political and trade wars.

Although scheduled maintenance work on the Nord Stream 1 pipeline began on Monday, July 11, Europe is preparing for an extended period of shutdown of gas supplies coming from Russia. Nord Stream 1 is a major pipeline that brings gas from Russia to Germany through the Baltic Sea. It is the biggest infrastructure that brings gas to Europe.

Maintenance work on the major pipeline began on schedule, on July 11 and Russian gas flow is expected to drop to zero level later in the day. Operation Nord Stream AG confirmed the work began and it is expected to continue till July 21. However, Europe is preparing for a worst case scenario, if supplies are suspended beyond the scheduled 10-day time.

The European Union receives about 40 percent of its gas via pipelines from Russia. Although it is trying to decrease its dependence on Russia for energy, after the country invaded Ukraine, it is an uphill task as of now. Additional supplies would be required in winter and energy costs are already at a premium, all over the world.

Klaus Mueller, who is the head of Germany’s energy regulator, told CNBC last week that they could not rule out the possibility that “gas transport” would “not be resumed afterwards for political reasons.”

Last week, Russia said that that they would increase gas supplies to Europe, if a turbine that was being serviced by Germany’s Siemens Energy, which is based in Canada, would be returned to them. Gazprom, which is a state backed energy giant, said that the delayed return of equipment from Canada had affected Russian gas supplies to Europe.

Over the weekend, Canada said that it would send back a repaired gas turbine to Germany, so that it could be used in the pipeline of Nord Stream 1. However, the country also said that it was expanding its sanctions against the energy sector in Russia.

A clearer picture of whether gas supplies will remain suspended or resume on the Nord Stream 1, the major pipeline that carries gas from Russia to Germany via the Baltic Sea, will emerge on or after July 21, 2022.

(Photo Credit:MassimoVernicesole )

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