Germany's reliance on Russian gas addressed by Eva Maydell
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The German government issued a stark warning over the urgent need for the country to conserve energy and store gas after Gazprom slashed volumes travelling through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline. Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck stressed the situation is now “serious”, adding that “every kilowatt hour helps in this situation”. On Thursday, RWE, Germany’s biggest power supply company, reported that gas flows had sunk.
But this is not the only country that is suffering from the Russian gas squeeze.
Eni, the Italian power company, also said that gas flow to Italy had been slashed by up to 15 percent on Wednesday, which reportedly worsened the following day.
Slovakia has also seen its supplies cut by 30 percent, while Austrian energy company OMV was reportedly told by Gazprom that it will also be hit with a supply cut.
Gazprom’s slashing of Nord Stream 1 pipeline deliveries to just 40 percent of usual volumes was blamed on “the delayed return of gas compressor units from repair by Siemens”.
Gazprom claimed that only up to 100 million cubic metres of gas can be delivered to Germany daily, which is a 60 percent cut, because of this.
This sparked panic in Germany as the pipeline which runs through the Baltic Sea is the main pathway for Russian gas, which accounts for 40 percent of total supplies, to reach the country.
Gazprom’s CEO Alexey Miller blamed the delay on Canadian sanctions as the equipment was getting repaired in Montreal.
He also described Siemens as “silent” over the issue, warning that there is “no solution” as the Canada plant is the only one able to repair the energy turbines.
However, Siemens Energy has previously maintained that it is working to find a solution to the problem.
Mr Habeck has rejected Gazprom’s claims over the technical issues, instead calling the move a “political decision”.
Despite this, the Kremlin-controlled gas conglomerate also appears to be offering Germany a way out.
The Gazprom CEO has said that Nord Stream 2, the planned pipeline that would have sent gas via the Baltic Sea to Germany, is ready to supply gas immediately.
But German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who had previously appeared to be in favour of the pipeline, put the £8billion project on ice back in February ahead of Russia’s feared invasion of Ukraine.
The 1,234km system could allegedly double gas volumes sent to Europe on top of what Russia usually sends when flows are not being reduced.
But the planned pipeline was hugely controversial, with critics arguing it would allow Putin’s energy grip on Europe to grow even tighter.
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Bill Browder, CEO of Hermitage Capital, said back in February after Mr Scholz scrapped the project: “Germany fears Russian gas retaliation if war breaks out.
“Maybe their leaders should have thought of that a decade ago and diversified when Russia started cutting off gas the first time.
“Instead the Germans built Nord Stream 2 to become even more dependent.”
Sergiy Makogon, chief executive of Ukraine’s state-owned gas transmission network, also offered up a solution.
He said on Thursday: “The Kremlin [has] decided to continue escalation and blackmailing of the EU.”
He noted that Russia could make up for the slashed gas volumes travelling through Nord Stream by increasing gas supplies via Ukraine and Poland, but warned Moscow would not “have the will” to do this.
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