The unscheduled maintenance order on the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, which runs under the Baltic Sea to Germany, deepens an energy conflict between Moscow and Brussels, which has already contributed to rising inflation in the region and increased the risk of rationing and recession.
Germany’s broader economic impact was highlighted in Friday’s producer price data, which saw its highest-ever rise in July, both year-over-year and month-on-month, as energy costs skyrocketed.
The Nord Stream pipeline was already running at just one-fifth of its capacity, raising fears that Russia could completely shut down flows en route to the winter heating season and make it more difficult to fill storage facilities.
Germany has made targeted efforts to fill its storage facilities to prepare, with levels standing at 78.19% as of August 17, slightly above the 75.89% for the European Union as a whole.
After maintenance is complete and “in the absence of technical failures”, flows of 33 million cubic meters (mcm) per day – in line with current volumes – will resume, Gazprom said.
This would still be only 20% of Nord Stream’s full capacity of 167 mcm per day.
Gazprom said maintenance work on the remaining Trent 60 gas compressor station would be carried out jointly with Siemens. The Russian group has previously blamed faulty or delayed equipment for lower flows. Germany says this is a pretext to hurt its economy.
Siemens Energy, which is responsible for the maintenance of the Nord Stream 1 turbines, declined to comment.
Earlier, senior German politicians from ruling parties rejected suggestions that gas shortages could be alleviated by commissioning the suspended Nord Stream 2 pipeline, something the Kremlin has proposed as a solution.
“I strongly suggest that we spare ourselves the humiliation of always asking (Russian President Vladimir) Putin for something we will not get,” said Kevin Kuehnert, number two official for Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democrats.
“The dependence on him must end once and for all,” he added in an interview with website t-online.