Russia restarts Nord Stream 1 gas supply to Germany after 10 tense days
After 10 tense days of uncertainty, Russia has resumed deliveries of gas to Germany and the rest of Europe via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline. However, the flow remains far below the capacity limit.
Gas flowing through Nord Stream 1 again
“It is working,” a Nord Stream spokesperson said on Thursday morning, confirming that crucial supplies of gas were once again flowing through the pipeline. Nord Stream 1 has been closed for 10 days for scheduled maintenance work, but the German government had feared that the Kremlin would not reopen the pipeline after the work was finished, in retaliation for western sanctions following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The spokesperson said it would take some time before the full transport capacity is reached. On Thursday, around 530 gigawatt hours is due to be delivered, according to the Russian-owned energy company Gazprom. Klaus Müller, president of the Federal Network Agency, said that this was only 30 percent of the pipeline’s capacity.
Germany accuses Russia of using energy as a weapon
The pipeline that supplies Russian natural gas to Europe has been out of service since July 11 for annual maintenance. Prior to this, the supply of gas running through the pipeline was twice reduced by Gazprom, to around 40 percent of the maximum capacity. The company blamed the reduction on the absence of a turbine that had been sent to a plant in Canada for repairs, before being held up under the country’s sanctions.
This explanation was rejected by the German government, with Chancellor Olaf Scholz recently accusing Russia of “not shying away from using grain and energy deliveries as a weapon.” He added, “We have to be resolute in protecting ourselves.”
Europe preparing for gas crisis
The delivery volume will be vital in the coming months, as the German government scrambles to fill its gas reserves to avoid shortages over the winter. Should supplies be sharply reduced or turned off entirely, it would have drastic effects across the whole continent, shunting up the price of utility bills and perhaps even causing shortages.
On Wednesday, the European Commission called on member states to reduce demand for natural gas by 15 percent in the coming months to secure winter supplies and win over Russian “blackmail”. With Russian President Vladimir Putin blowing hot and cold about the possibility of throttling supplies, the EC is preparing for the worst.