BERLIN – Russia’s state-owned gas monopoly Gazprom said on Monday it would further reduce the amount of gas it sends to Germany via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, less than a week after it resumed limited flows after an annual maintenance shutdown .
Flow has been cut to 40% of capacity, but Gazprom said it would cut capacity to 20% from Wednesday, citing problems with a powerful turbine made by Germany’s Siemens Energy. Turbines build pressure within pipelines to transport natural gas over long distances.
In mid-June, Russia began reducing the amount of gas it sends through its 760-mile subsea pipeline, blaming the drop on lost turbines that had been shipped to Canada for repair.
On Monday, Gazprom said on its social media account that it “is shutting down another Siemens-made gas turbine engine.”
Germany’s economy ministry has consistently rejected Gazprom’s claim that the damaged turbines were to blame for restricting gas flow, saying instead that the cuts were another way for Russia to punish Europe for its war in Ukraine.
The Berlin government opposes Gazprom’s latest production cut plan.
“According to our information, there is no technical reason for the reduction in deliveries,” Germany’s economy ministry said in a statement following Gazprom’s announcement.
Observers say the move is in line with President Vladimir V. Putin’s intention to use Russia’s energy exports as a means of punishing and dividing European leaders by loosening or tightening policies that suit him and his in Ukraine. A faucet of war goals to punish and divide European leaders with the intent.
“Gazprom’s announcement shouldn’t come as a surprise,” said Simone Tagliapietra, a senior fellow at Brussels-based think tank Bruegel. “Russia is playing a strategic game here. Traffic with already low volatility is better than cutting it off completely because it can manipulate the market and optimize geopolitical influence.”
EU energy ministers met in Brussels on Tuesday to discuss a proposal for citizens and businesses in the bloc’s 27 member states to save energy. But as countries that do not rely heavily on Russian gas, such as Greece and Spain, are divided, they are chafing at the idea that consumption needs to be cut to help their wealthy northern partner Germany.
Before Russia invaded Ukraine, Germany relied on Russia for 55% of its total gas needs. It has slashed that share to 30 per cent over the past few months, but is scrambling to save enough fuel to ensure it has enough stores to survive the winter.
Hours before Gazprom announced the new cuts, Klaus Müller, the head of Germany’s cyber regulator, said the country’s storage facilities had reached 65.9% capacity and were “finally back on the road”. on the right track.” The goal is to reach 75% storage space by early September.
Mr Tagliapitra said Gazprom’s statement should have made clear to all EU member states how important it was for them to start saving gas quickly and decisively. “The action on this front cannot be delayed any longer.”