Russia’s Gazprom to further reduce gas flow to Germany

After halting gas supplies to Finland and the Netherlands, Russian energy company Gazprom said Wednesday it would further reduce gas delivery volumes to Germany through the Nord Stream 1 Baltic Sea pipeline, taking the flow to about 40% of the level was at the start of the week.

Starting early on Thursday, only a maximum of 67 million cubic meters (mcm) per day will be pumped through the pipeline, Gazprom announced.

Once again, the Russian state-owned company justified the step by citing delays in repair work by German industrial giant Siemens. This meant that another gas compression plant had to be shut down, it said.

German Economy Minister Robert Habeck said gas Russia was trying to stir up trouble. “The Russian side’s justification is simply a pretext. It is obviously their strategy to create unease and drive up prices,” Habeck said in Berlin on Wednesday.

Currently, the shortfall in the gas supplies can be made up through procuring gas on the market, “albeit at high prices,” Habeck said. There are also stored gas supplies to rely on, he said, meaning “security of supply is guaranteed.” I have repeated a call for citizens to save energy and said the government “will take action if necessary.”

It is the second reduction in as many days to the gas flows that many parts of the German economy rely upon. Gazprom announced on Tuesday that it is reducing the maximum delivery volume to 100 mcm of gas per day, from 167 mcm.

Germany’s Federal Network Agency on Tuesday disputed Gazprom’s claims that delays in repairs to a gas compressor unit were the reason for the reduced gas delivery volumes. Nord Stream 1 is Germany’s main supply pipeline for Russian gas.

Russia has cut off the gas flow to several European countries in recent weeks, amid disputes about sanctions levied on it for its invasion of Ukraine and refusals to pay for gas in roubles, which Russia wants to prop up its currency.

Many energy analysts fear Russia is set to turn off the taps as a pressure tactic on countries that are seeking to sideline Russia economically.

Another pipeline, Yamal-Europe, had already stopped being filled with gas. The transit of Russian gas through Ukraine has also been reduced. Energy prices have risen significantly because less gas is flowing from Russia to Europe overall.

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