Russia Blames Siemens, Sanctions for Nord Stream 1 Shutdown
Russia has blamed Siemens Energy for the Gazprom Nord Stream 1 shutdown. The pipeline stretches from the Russian coast near St Petersburg to north-eastern Germany and can carry up to 170 million cubic metres of gas a day.
The Nord Stream 1 pipeline, which runs under the Baltic Sea to Germany, had supplied about a third of the gas exported from Russia to Europe, but was running at 20% capacity before flows were halted for maintenance last weekend.
While blaming western sanctions for the delay in restoring supply through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, Russia has said Gazprom will not restart until Siemens Energy, the German company that was in charge of maintenance, repairs all equipment that needs repairing.
Asked when Nord Stream 1 will return to operation, Vitaly Markelov, deputy CEO, said “You should ask Siemens. They have to repair equipment first.”
Gazprom suspended gas flows via Nord Stream 1 last Friday, first saying it would restart the flow on Saturday. Later, however, the company said it had detected an oil leak at the Portovaya compressor station and was shutting down Nord Stream 1 indefinitely.
There is only one operational turbine at the station, while the other five are abroad, waiting return after maintenance. Gazprom is blaming Western sanctions for the stuck turbines. Siemens Energy says it had completed all the necessary documentation and there are no sanction obstacles for the turbines to return to the compressor station.
Gazprom claims it had tasked Siemens Energy with the repairs of the turbines at the Portovaya compressor station but Siemens Energy has denied this but has said it was available to carry out maintenance on the critical gas pipeline should Gazprom ask it to do so.
“Irrespective of this, we have already pointed out several times that there are enough additional turbines available in the Portovaya compressor station for Nord Stream 1 to operate,” a Siemens Energy spokesman was quoted by CBC.
Before the latest shutdown, Nord Stream 1 was operating at a fifth of its capacity due to the turbine-related technical constraints. It was due to restart at the same reduced rat of flows.
Gas prices soared on Monday due to mounting concerns over energy supplies. The Dutch month-ahead wholesale gas price, a benchmark for Europe, was up as much as 30% in early trading on Monday.
Prices in the UK rose as much as 35% before winding back to £4.50 per therm, the BBC reported yesterday. Wholesale prices have been very volatile in recent weeks. They fell sharply last week when Germany announced that its gas storage facilities were filling up faster than expected.
While the UK is not reliant on Nord Stream 1 for its gas, the Kremlin’s decision to squeeze supplies to Europe has driven up the overall cost of wholesale gas.
The overall increase has been behind the spike in the energy bill price cap for consumers in England, Wales and Scotland.