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Key gas pipeline from Russia to Europe restarts after break

Nord Stream 1 Baltic Sea pipeline landfall facility in Lubmin, Germany
Nord Stream 1 Baltic Sea pipeline landfall facility in Lubmin, Germany

Natural gas has resumed flowing through a major pipeline from Russia to Europe after a 10-day shutdown for maintenance, the operator said.

But gas flow is expected to be less than full capacity.

Germany’s Nord Stream 1 pipeline has been shut down since July 11 for annual maintenance work.

Amid rising tensions over Russia’s war in Ukraine, German officials feared the pipeline — the country’s main source of Russian gas, which accounts for about a third of Germany’s gas supply — might not reopen.

Operator Nord Stream AG said gas started flowing again on Thursday morning but it would take some time for the flow to increase, German news agency DPA reported.

The sun rises behind the landfall facility of the Nord Stream 1 Baltic Sea Pipeline and OPAL Gas Pipeline, Transfer Station of the Baltic Sea Pipeline Link in Lubmin, Germany
The sun rises behind the landfall facility of the Nord Stream 1 Baltic Sea pipeline and the OPAL gas pipeline, the transfer station of the Baltic Sea Pipeline Link, in Lubmin, Germany (Markus Schreiber/AP)

Supplies are expected to fall well below the pipeline’s full capacity.

Nord Stream said the same amount of gas was expected before the maintenance.

The head of Germany’s network regulator, Klaus Müller, said on Twitter that Russia’s Gazprom said Thursday’s delivery would be about 30% of pipeline capacity.

In mid-June, Russia’s state-owned Gazprom cut capacity by 40%.

It cited alleged technical problems with equipment that partner Siemens Energy had sent to Canada for overhaul and could not be returned due to sanctions stemming from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Canadian government earlier this month gave permission for turbines that power a compressor station on the Russian end of the pipeline to supply Germany.

The entrance to the port area is secured with barbed wire where the landfall of the Nord Stream 1 Baltic Sea pipeline is located.
Barbed wire secures the entrance to the port area where the Nord Stream 1 Baltic Sea pipeline’s landfall is located (Markus Schreiber/AP)

The German government has rejected Gazprom’s technical explanation for the gas cuts, repeatedly saying it was a political decision to sow uncertainty and raise energy prices further.

It said the turbine was a replacement that was only supposed to be installed in September, but it was doing everything it could to deprive Russia of an excuse to cut supply.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that Gazprom had not yet received the relevant documents to return the turbines – a claim repeated by Gazprom on Wednesday.

Mr Putin said Gazprom would shut down another turbine for repairs at the end of July and that if the turbine sent to Canada was not returned, gas flows would be further reduced.

The head of the European Union’s executive commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said on Wednesday the turbine was “in transit” and there was “no excuse not to deliver gas”.

The commission has proposed that member states cut their gas consumption by 15% in the coming months as the bloc braces for a possible complete cutoff of Russian gas supplies.


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