Russia cuts gas flow further as Europe demands energy savings

Frankfurt / London — Russia will reduce the gas it supplies to Europe on Wednesday, further escalate the energy standoff between Moscow and the European Union, making it more difficult for blocks to fill storage ahead of the winter heating season. Make it expensive.

The supply cuts flagged by Gazprom earlier this week have reduced the capacity of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, Russia’s main delivery route for gas to Europe, by just one-fifth of its total capacity.

Nord Stream 1 accounts for about one-third of Russia’s total gas exports to Europe.

On Tuesday, EU countries approved a weakened emergency plan to curb gas demand after proposing a compromise to limit cuts in some countries.

The plan could once again hurt Europe’s fragile economic growth if countries fail to meet their goals of replenishing storage and keeping citizens warm during the winter and have to allocate gas. It highlights the concern.

Analysts at the Royal Bank of Canada said the plan could help Europe survive the winter if the gas flow from Russia had a capacity of 20-50%, but “European politicians Has solved the problem of Russia’s gas dependence. “

Moscow accused delays in returning service turbines and sanctions on supply cuts, but Brussels accused Russia of using energy as a weapon to threaten and retaliate against Western sanctions against the invasion of Ukraine. ..

Gazprom Deputy CEO Vitaly Markelov said he has not yet received the Siemens turbines used at NordStream 1’s Portovaya compressor station, which is being serviced in Canada.

Markerov said there were machine-related sanctions risks, and Siemens Energy said Gazprom would need to file customs documents to return the turbines to Russia.

Gazprom logo on the façade of a business center in St. Petersburg, Russia, March 31, 2022. (Reuters photographer)

“Saving gas”

On Wednesday, the physical flow through Nord Stream 1 fell from about 28 million kWh / ha the day before to 14.4 million kWh (kWh / h) per hour between 12 and 1300 GMT, already at normal capacity. Only 40% of. After the scheduled 10-day maintenance period, the drop will occur less than a week after the pipeline is restarted.

European politicians have repeatedly warned that Russia could shut down gas flows altogether this winter, which will drive Germany into a recession and further raise consumer and industry prices.

The European benchmark August wholesale gas prices in the Netherlands rose 7% to € 210 per megawatt hour on Wednesday, up about 400% from a year ago.

Germany, Europe’s top economy and Russia’s largest importer of gas, has been particularly hit by supply cuts since mid-June, resulting in a gas-importing uniper of € 15 billion (15.21 billion). (Dollar) is demanding national relief.

Italy, another major importer that normally obtains 40% of gas from Russia, will face tight gas supplies at the end of the coming winter if Russia shuts down its supply altogether. Transition phase Roberto Singorani warned.

Both Uniper and Italy’s Eni said they received less gas from Gazprom than recently.

Germany’s Treasury Minister Christian Lindner said he was open to using nuclear power to avoid power shortages.

Germany states that if Russia shuts down its nuclear power plants from gas, it could extend the life of the remaining three nuclear power plants, which produce 6% of electricity.

Klaus Mueller, head of national network regulators, said Germany is still demanding that homes and the industry “save gas” while still avoiding a gas shortage that encourages distribution.

However, German trade groups have warned that companies may be forced to cut production to achieve greater savings, and late approval to replace natural gas with other more polluted fuels. I point out that.

Mercedes-Benz CEO Orakerenius said he maximized gas usage within a year as needed by combining efficiency measures, increased electricity consumption, lower production facility temperatures and switching to oil. He said he could save 50%.

Germany is currently in Phase 2 of its three-stage emergency gas program, with a final phase to begin when distribution is unavoidable.

($ 1 = 0.9862 euros)

Christoph Steitz and Nina Chestney