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Russia Suspends Gas Exports To Europe Via Nord Stream 1 For Maintenance

Russia Suspends Gas Exports To Europe Via Nord Stream 1 For Maintenance
Russia's state-owned energy giant Gazprom halted gas flows to Europe via a major pipeline on Wednesday, citing maintenance on its sole remaining compressor.
Gas flows through Nord Stream 1, which connects Russia to Germany via the Baltic Sea, are expected to be suspended from August 31 to September 3.
The shutdown had been announced ahead of time, with Gazprom announcing in mid-August that gas flows would be suspended for three days for maintenance.
Gazprom previously stated that once the maintenance work is completed, gas transmission would resume at a rate of 33 million cubic meters per day "provided that no malfunctions are identified."
The temporary supply halt reflects an escalating gas dispute between Russia and the European Union, emphasizing both the risk of a recession and a winter shortage.
In recent weeks, Russia has drastically reduced gas supplies to Europe, with flows through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline operating at only 20% of the agreed-upon volume.
Moscow has previously blamed the sharp drop in gas supplies on faulty and delayed equipment.
Germany, on the other hand, sees the supply cut as a political ploy to sow uncertainty across the EU and raise energy prices amid the Kremlin's onslaught on Ukraine.
Policymakers in Europe are currently racing to secure underground gas supplies in order to have enough fuel to keep homes warm during the colder months.
These gas injections have progressed faster than expected.
“Europe is in full bunkering mode and taking no chances with Russian supplies heading into the winter,” Wei Xiong, senior analyst at energy consultancy Rystad Energy, said in a research note.
According to the most recent data compiled by industry group Gas Infrastructure Europe, the EU's overall storage levels are at an average of more than 80% full, while Germany's underground storage is nearly 84% full.
According to Rystad's Xiong, gas storage in Europe was only 66% full in the same period in 2021, "despite the cost being significantly lower."
Until recently, Germany purchased more than half of its gas from Russia. And the government is now battling to shore up winter gas supplies amid fears that Moscow will shut off the taps entirely soon.
It had planned for gas storage levels to reach 75% by September 1, with the next federally mandated targets of 85% by Oct. 1 and 95% by Nov. 1.
“The ahead-of-schedule injections are providing some relief on the concerns about Russian supply disruptions,” Xiong said.
“The risk to European winter supplies remains, however – given low transmissions from Russia and intensified maintenance of Nord Stream 1, storage levels could be vulnerable.”


Christopher J. Mitchell

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