Russian state energy giant Gazprom announced on Friday it will halt natural gas supplies to Europe via its main pipeline into the region – which runs under the Baltic Sea to Germany- for three days, adding extra pressure to the region that already struggles to refuel for the winter.
Gazprom justifies the unscheduled shutdown of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, which will run from 31 August to 2 September, with the necessary maintenance of the pipeline’s only remaining compressor.
The three days shutdown of the Nord Stream pipeline at the end of the month follows July’s 10-day maintenance curtailment and is stoking fears over whether Russia would resume supplies, which have been reduced since mid-June, or it’ll halt flows completely heading into the winter heating season
Nord Stream 1 had already been running at just a fifth of its capacity, raising concerns that it’ll make it much harder for Europe to fill up storage facilities.
Providing no technical malfunctions occur, Gazprom said that after maintenance is complete, gas flows will resume in line with current volumes of 33 million cubic meters a day, which is only 20% of the Nord Stream’s full daily capacity of 167 mcm.
This only deepens the energy standoff between Moscow and Brussels which has accused Russia of weaponizing energy, but Russia is denying the charge and is blaming sanctions for the drop in exports.
The standoff has already pumped up the inflation in the region raising the risk of energy rationing and recession, particularly in Germany, which is highly dependent on Russian gas deliveries to power its industry.
Following the shutdown news from Gazprom, the US gas prices reversed course and settled up 1.2% while gas prices in Europe remained close to five-month highs.
Since Russia started its so-called special military operation it used to invade Ukraine in February, Moscow has also decreased gas flows via other pipeline routes.