Live news updates: Gazprom declares three-day Nord Stream 1 closure at end of August
Gazprom said it will shut down the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, which delivers gas to Europe via the Baltic Sea, in late August, further cutting gas flow to Europe as energy prices soar and the continent scrambles to find supplies after Russia invaded Ukraine.
The Russian state-owned gas monopoly said Friday it would shut down the only working compressor station on Nord Stream 1, at Portovaya near St Petersburg, from August 31 to September 2. Gazprom said it would then resume supplying up to 33mn cubic metres of gas to Europe daily.
Gazprom can send as much as 167mn cubic metres daily through the pipeline, but has throttled supplies in recent months in a dispute over sanctions. The company has claimed it is unable to supply gas at regular volumes because of delays in repairing and returning turbines manufactured by Germany’s Siemens Energy.
European leaders and energy companies have said there is no technical issue preventing Gazprom from supplying more gas and claim Russia is deliberately limiting supplies for political reasons.
In a statement, Gazprom said the repairs were mandated under its contract with Siemens Energy and that the German company’s specialists would participate in the repairs.
Siemens Energy declined to comment.
“This is a vivid example of Putin’s hybrid energy war against the EU,” said Sergiy Makogon, chief executive of Ukraine’s state-owned gas transmission network. “Ukraine and Poland have idle transit capacities, which could be used to fully compensate flows via Nord Stream 1,” he continued.
Yuriy Vitrenko, CEO of Ukraine’s state gas company Naftogaz, said there are “no signs that Gazprom would compensate” by pumping more gas through Ukraine’s vast gas transportation pipeline, once a major route for supplies to European markets.
“The aim might be to put pressure on Germany to ease sanctions and even to allow [Nord Stream 2]” to be launched, Vitrenko added.
The prospect of Gazprom shutting down Nord Stream 1
“The prospect of Gazprom shutting down Nord Stream 1 for three days is only going to spook the market,” ICIS analyst Tom Marzec-Manser said. “Gas prices jumped at the very end of the trading day as the maintenance was announced and could easily rise further on Monday as buyers assess whether they really believe the pipe will return to service as stated by the Russian supplier.”
Additional reporting by Roman Olearchyk in Kyiv, Martin Arnold in Frankfurt and David Sheppard in London