Russia's Gazprom to cut Nord Stream gas supplies to Germany by 60 percent
The Russian-owned energy company Gazprom has, for the second time in less than a week, announced that it is cutting gas supply volumes to Germany through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline. The German government has accused the company of acting on political motives.
Gazprom further cuts supply of gas to Germany
Gazprom announced on Wednesday that it would further reduce the capacity of gas supplies through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to 67 million cubic metres per day, due to the “technical condition of the engine” at a compression station.
The announcement came just one day after the company announced that supply through the pipeline would be cut to 100 million cubic metres per day, down from 167, meaning supply has more than halved within the space of two days.
Initially, Gazprom said the move was due to the German company Siemens’ failure to return equipment that had been sent to them for return. The international company clarified on Tuesday that the equipment had been sent to Canada for repairs and could not be returned due to sanctions on Russia.
Germany accuses Gazprom of political motives
However, Germany’s Federal Network Agency described the action as “technically unjustifiable.” German Economics Minister Robert Habeck accused Gazprom of making a political manoeuvre designed to cause uncertainty on the energy market. “It is obviously a strategy to unsettle and drive up prices,” he said on Wednesday. “We can currently procure the necessary quantities on the market, albeit at higher prices.”
While acknowledging that Gazprom’s decision was alarming and signified the need to conserve energy and simultaneously diversify supply, he assured the public that the supply of gas in Germany was secure.
Eyes turn to energy-saving measures in Germany
The President of the Federal Network Agency, Klaus Müller, expressed concern. “We might be able to endure the summer, because the heating season is over,” he said. “However, we now have to fill the storage tanks in order to survive the winter - also with Russian gas.”
When asked if he took Russia’s threats to cut off gas supplies seriously, he said: “Up to now it was part of the Russian logic, wanting to continue selling gas to Germany. But we cannot rule anything out.”
Politicians are currently discussing legislative measures that might help the federal republic conserve crucial energy supplies as we head into autumn and winter. As well as a possible temporary speed limit on the autobahn, other ideas on the table include a reduction in the minimum standard to which landlords are required to heat their tenants’ apartments - currently 20 to 22 degrees. Companies might also be offered financial bonuses to save energy.