NewsEnergy blackmail? Russia again cuts the flow of gas...

Energy blackmail? Russia again cuts the flow of gas to Europe

Russia’s Gazprom said on Monday it was shutting down another turbine on the Nord Stream 1 pipeline bound for Germany and gas flows would drop to the equivalent of just a fifth of normal capacity.

The new supply hit comes at a time of high tension as Russia and the West trade economic blows in response to Moscow’s actions in Ukraine. The European Union has accused Russia of resorting to energy blackmail, while the Kremlin says the gas outage is due to maintenance problems and the effect of Western sanctions.

Gazprom said it was stopping the operation of another Siemens gas turbine at the Nord Stream 1 compressor station in Portovaya, in accordance with instructions from the relevant watchdog, taking into account the technical condition of the engine.

Therefore, production from 04:00 am GMT on Wednesday (11:00 pm on Tuesday, Mexico City time) will be reduced to 33 million cubic meters per day. This represents half of the current flows, which are already at 40% of their normal capacity.

Gazprom resumed supply via Nord Stream 1 last week after a 10-day maintenance break, but only at 40% of the pipeline’s capacity.

Russia has said it was forced to cut gas volume to that level in June because Western sanctions were delaying the return of the turbine from Canada. European politicians have disputed that explanation, with Germany saying the turbine in question was not to be used until September.

Gazprom said on Monday that it had received reports from Siemens Energy and Canada about the first turbine, but added that problems remained. “Gazprom has studied … the reports, but has to recognize that they do not eliminate previously identified risks and raise additional questions,” it said in a statement.

“In addition, there are still open questions from Gazprom regarding the EU and UK sanctions, the resolution of which is important for the delivery of the engine to Russia and the urgent overhaul of other gas turbine engines for the compression station of Portovaya”.

Agreement to reduce dependency

This announcement is “further proof” that Europe must “reduce its dependence on Russian supplies as soon as possible,” the Czech energy minister, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union, said on Tuesday.

“Unity and solidarity are the best weapons we have against [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and I am sure we will show it today,” said Jozef Sikela, ahead of a meeting in Brussels with his 27 EU counterparts to agree on a gas consumption saving plan.

This Tuesday, the EU announced that it had reached an agreement to reduce gas consumption. The content was extensively modified, although its main lines remained the same.

The approved document provides that each country do “everything possible” to reduce gas consumption by at least 15% between August 2022 and March 2023, compared to the average of the last five years of the same period.

In case of “serious risk of hardship”, a mechanism will make this reduction mandatory, but the objective will be adapted to the realities of each country through a series of exemptions.

It was not an impossible mission! The ministers [of energy of the 27 member states] reached a political agreement on the reduction of gas demand for the coming winter,” the Czech presidency, which holds the rotating presidency of the EU Council, announced on Twitter.

European politicians have repeatedly warned that Russia could cut off gas flows this winter, a move that would push Germany into recession and cause prices to rise for consumers already grappling with higher food prices. and energy. Germany was forced last week to bail out Uniper, its biggest gas importer from Russia.

President Vladimir Putin warned the West this month that continuing sanctions could lead to a catastrophic rise in energy prices for consumers around the world.

Putin foreshadowed the latest cut in his comments on the Nord Stream 1 compressor last week, when he said: “There are two machines in operation, pumping 60 million cubic meters a day… If one is not returned, there will be another, which It is 30 million cubic meters.

Russia is the world’s second largest exporter of oil, after Saudi Arabia, and the world’s largest exporter of natural gas. Europe imports about 40% of its gas and 30% of its oil from Russia.

The Kremlin has previously said that Moscow was not interested in a complete disruption of Russian gas supplies to Europe, which is rushing to fill its underground storage facilities before the winter season.

He said that Gazprom was not to blame for the storage risks, reiterating his line that the Europeans are suffering the consequences of the sanctions they themselves imposed against Russia.

With information from AFP and Reuters

The mobilization that provoked the discontent of the Russian population ends

The defense minister says that 300,00 people have been recruited to go to fight in Ukraine, although most are still undergoing training.

Dirty bomb: Russia tests its nuclear response

The exercises, overseen by President Vladimir Putin, include test launches of nuclear-capable cruise and ballistic missiles.

"Dirty bomb": Ukraine accuses Russia of planning to detonate a bomb and accuse them...

Russia accuses Ukraine of seeking to detonate a "dirty bomb" on its own territory to accuse Moscow, something that both kyiv and the West reject.

Thousands of Russians are fleeing to Finland, which is why this country is already...

The structure would protect areas identified as a potential risk of large-scale migration from Russia.

Curfews, limit movements: Putin imposes martial law in these Ukrainian territories

This measure makes it possible to reinforce the army, apply curfews, limit movements, impose military censorship on telecommunications, prohibit public gatherings, among others.