Russia reduces amount of gas flowing to Europe through Nord Stream 1 pipeline by 80%
08/01/2022 / By Arsenio Toledo
Russia has once again reduced the amount of gas flowing through Nord Stream 1 to Europe. The country has now cut gas flows by 80 percent, causing an energy crisis in Europe ahead of the cold winter season.
According to Russian state-owned energy corporation Gazprom, the company has reduced gas supplies over the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to 33 million cubic meters per day (mcm/d) or 12 billion cubic meters per year (bcm/year), which is just 20 percent of the pipeline’s capacity. (Related: Russia cuts Nord Stream 1 pipeline flows in HALF, plunging flow rates from 40% to just 20%.)
This comes less than a month after Gazprom cut gas flows through Nord Stream 1 twice in June – from 167 mcm/d (61 bcm/year) to 100 mcm/d (36.5 bcm/year), and later to 67 mcm/d (24.5 bcm/year) or 40 percent of capacity.
Nord Stream 1 is the primary route through which Russian natural gas enters Europe. The throttling of the gas flow through the pipeline comes after both Gazprom and Ukraine stopped gas from reaching Europe through other pipelines.
The former did so by shutting off the section of the Yamal-Europe pipeline that runs through Poland. Ukraine did so by discontinuing Russian gas flows through one of the two transit points into Europe, preventing a third of the Russian gas that is piped to Europe through Ukraine from reaching its destination.
Europe unable to build up gas supplies for the winter without Russian fuel
Since the start of Russia’s war against Ukraine, the Kremlin has reduced or fully cut off natural gas exports to 12 European countries either due to their refusal to pay for gas in rubles or in retaliation for those countries imposing severe economic sanctions against Russia.
The throttling of gas supplies entering Europe has made several members of the European Union concerned that they will not be able to build up their gas storage capacity in time for the winter to keep their citizens warm.
They are also concerned that they won’t have enough gas to allow vulnerable sectors of the economy to continue operating. If this occurs, Europe’s economic growth, which is already suffering from unresolved supply chain issues and rising inflation, would take another severe hit.
“Gas is now a part of Russian foreign policy and possibly Russian war strategy,” noted Klaus Mueller, the head of the Federal Network Agency, Germany’s regulatory office for energy.
Russia has insisted that the new drop-off in gas flow through Nord Stream 1 is because maintenance is needed on a turbine for a compressor station and another turbine that was sent for repairs in Canada has yet to be put back in place. Russia claims the paperwork for the return of the turbine has raised questions regarding Western sanctions, preventing it from getting back to the pipeline.
European leaders have pushed back on Russia’s claim, insisting that there is nothing standing in the way of the turbine getting back in the pipeline.
“What we are seeing here is actually a power play, and we won’t let ourselves be impressed by that,” claimed German government spokeswoman Christiane Hoffmann.