Germany sees 'political' motive behind Gazprom gas cut

AFP
AFP - [email protected] • 15 Jun, 2022 Updated Wed 15 Jun 2022 13:54 CEST
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German Economy and Climate Minister Robert Habeck speaks at a conference in Brandenburg on June 13th. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Patrick Pleul

Russian energy giant Gazprom's decision to cut supplies of natural gas to Europe via the Nord Stream pipeline was "political", Germany's Economy Minister said Wednesday.

Gazprom announced Tuesday it would be cutting deliveries via the pipeline by around 40 percent due to the "repair" of compressor units by German company Siemens.

Gazprom's move was "a political decision and not a technically justifiable decision", Economy Minister Robert Habeck said at a press conference.

Habeck said Germany was aware of the need to service the pipeline but added that "the first set of maintenance works where this would have become relevant will not take place until autumn."

At the same time, those works would not warrant a reduction "on the order of 40 percent", Habeck said.

Gazprom said Tuesday that the delayed return of components meant only three gas-pumping units were currently operational at the Portovaya compression station near the Russian city Vyborg, where the pipeline begins.

Germany was monitoring the impact on the gas market but there was "no supply problem in Germany", Habeck said.

Several European countries, including Germany, are highly reliant upon supplies of Russian gas for their energy needs.

Since the start of the war, European countries have sought to reduce their reliance on imports from Russia, but are divided about imposing an embargo on the fuel.

READ ALSO: Germany races to stockpile gas before winter

Moscow has already cut off several European clients after they failed to comply with a Russian demand that all "unfriendly" countries pay for natural gas in rubles in response to a barrage of Western sanctions over Ukraine.

Poland, Bulgaria, Finland and the Netherlands have had their deliveries suspended after refusing the arrangement.

The Nord Stream pipeline, commissioned in 2012, runs from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea.

A second underwater pipeline, Nord Stream 2, that was set to double deliveries was halted by Germany in the run up to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

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AFP 2022/06/15 13:54

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