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There are concerns about the availability of energy this winter after the main gas pipeline from Russia to Europe did not resume on Saturday as expected.
The Nord Stream 1 pipeline may be permanently shut down after a rupture was found, according to Gazprom, the state energy firm of Russia.
According to Gazprom, three days have passed since the German-bound pipeline was shut down for maintenance work.
During the conflict in Ukraine, Europe accused Russia of using its gas supply as leverage to pressure Europe; Moscow disputes this accusation.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine, energy costs have risen, and a lack of supplies could cause them to rise even further.
There are growing worries that European families won’t be able to afford the cost of heating this winter.
The United Kingdom may potentially be affected. Although unrelated to Nord Stream 1, the pipeline disruption may raise the price of wholesale gas, which has been the main factor behind the energy price cap’s steep ascent.
Faisal Islam, the economics editor for the BBC, described the indefinite shutdown of Nord Stream 1 as a “very serious occurrence,” given that Russia had maintained supplies to Europe throughout the Cold War.
Countries have been forced to restock their own gas supplies as a result of the impasse with Russia, with Germany’s inventories increasing from less than half full in June to 84% full today.
As a result, although they have dropped during the past week, global gas prices are still high by historical standards.
To limit Moscow’s ability to finance the conflict, Europe is striving to wean itself off of Russian energy, but the transition may be taking too long.
According to Charles Michel, president of the EU Council, Russia’s action was “sadly no surprise.”
Russia denies using the availability of electricity as a financial tool against the Western nations that support Ukraine.
It has claimed that the penalties are to blame for delaying Nord Stream 1’s routine maintenance, but the EU says this is a ploy.
Although it urged people and businesses to cut back on use, the Bundesnetzagentur, Germany’s network regulator, claimed that the nation was now more prepared for Russian gas supply disruptions.
The announcement by Gazprom came shortly after the G7 countries decided to restrict the price of Russian oil in support of Ukraine.
The United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan make up the G7 (Group of Seven).
With the introduction of a price cap, states who sign up for the policy will be permitted to obtain only Russian oil and petroleum products carried by water that is marketed at or below the price cap.
On the other side, Russia has said that it will not export to countries covered by the cap.
The pipeline carries up to 170 million cubic meters of gas per day from the Russian coast near St. Petersburg to northeastern Germany.
It is owned and run by Nord Stream AG, whose largest shareholder is Gazprom.
Before Russia invaded Ukraine, Germany supported the Nord Stream 2 rival pipeline construction.
According to Gazprom, the issue was found at the Portovaya compressor station, and technicians from Siemens, the German firm that looks after the turbine, checked it out.
It stated that only specialized workshops constrained by Western sanctions could fix oil leaks in significant engines.
Siemens, however, noted that such leaks normally have little impact on turbine functioning and can be fixed on-site as part of routine maintenance.
Russia responds to EU sanctions via Nord Stream 1 shutdown
Since the invasion, the Nord Stream 1 pipeline has been shut down numerous times.
In July, Gazprom completely shut off supply for ten days while claiming “a maintenance break,” and then began for another ten days at a far lower intensity.
There is no chance behind this. Just hours after top Western finance ministers pledged to ramp up sanctions on Russian oil, Russia’s state-controlled gas monopoly announced an indefinite extension of a three-day maintenance halt to gas flows through the continent’s critical energy artery.
According to Gazprom’s official justification, the pipeline cannot function without imports of German technology, which are now prohibited, because an oil leak has been found.
Few analysts think this is anything but an effort to intimidate Europe over supply.
It’s a significant development. Russia continued to supply Europe with natural gas even during the Cold War.
However, this cutoff marks the end of decades of strained energy relations between Germany and Russia.