Putin warns natural-gas supply to Europe could fall further after key pipeline restarts on Thursday

Business Insider US
Russian President Vladimir Putin. Getty Images
Russian President Vladimir Putin. Getty Images
  • Putin warns natural-gas flows to Europe via Nord Stream 1 could fall more due to equipment issues.
  • The pipeline is shut and due to come back online on Thursday after scheduled maintenance.
  • Russia has already cut gas flows to Europe via Nord Stream 1 before the shutdown, citing an equipment hold-up due to sanctions.
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Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned natural-gas flows to Europe via the key Nord Stream 1 pipeline could be cut further due to problems with equipment.

Russia shut off the Nord Stream 1 for scheduled annual maintenance last Monday and it's due to restart on Thursday. Before the shutdown, state gas giant Gazprom had already cut gas flows to Germany via the pipeline to about 40% of its capacity, citing an equipment hold-up in Canada as a result of sanctions over the war in Ukraine. 

Putin said on Wednesday that natural-gas flows through the pipeline could fall further to 20% of capacity if a turbine that was sent to Canada for repairs isn't replaced promptly, according to the Associated Press. Nord Stream 1 carries 55 billion cubic meters of natural gas each year and accounts for roughly a third of all pipeline gas sent to Europe from Russia. 

"There are two functioning machines there, they pump 60 million cubic meters per day... if one is not returned, there will be one, which is 30 million cubic meters," said Putin, according to Reuters.  "Has Gazprom something to do with that?"

Canada said on July 10 it would waive the sanctions and return the repaired turbine in question to ensure continue gas flows in Europe. But Grazprom said on July 13 it didn't have the required paperwork to get the equipment out of Canada.

Still, Canada has sent the turbine via plane to Germany where it will loaded onto a vehicle and transported via land to Russia, the Kommersant business daily reported on Monday. The turbine is expected to reach Russia this weekend, according to the media outlet.

Even so, yet one other turbine is due for maintenance on July 26, Putin said on Wednesday.

The developments puts pressure on Europe, which is already fretting over a natural-gas shortage this coming weather as it depends on Russia for 40% of its total natural-gas needs, from cooking in homes to firing power stations. Most of the fuel to Europe is delivered via pipeline.

European natural gas prices have surged by around 400% since the start of the year as a result.

Meanwhile, although there are fears in Europe that Nord Stream 1 will not come back online again after the maintenance work, sources told Reuters on Wednesday that the pipeline will be restarting as scheduled.

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