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ENERGY

Putin ‘threatens Germany with further gas reductions’

Russia's President Vladimir Putin has reportedly threatened to halve gas deliveries to Germany at the end of July.

Russian President Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin at a meeting with Iranian president Raisi in Tehran on July 19th, 2022. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/Iranian Presidency | -

According to Russian news agency Tass – a state propaganda outfit – if western countries do not return a turbine repaired in Canada for the Nord Stream 1 Baltic Sea pipeline to Russia, the flow of gas to Germany will be cut for a second time.

In comments reportedly made by Putin in a meeting with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Tehran on Wednesday, the capacity of Nord Stream 1 could fall even further to 33 million cubic metres per day at the end of July because “another unit” requires repairs. 

The warning from Putin is believed to be an attempt to force Germany to reignite the Nord Stream 2 project after the pipeline was immediately halted following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

READ ALSO: Germany’s energy regulator urges people not to panic about threat of gas shortage

“We still have a ready route (for delivering gas) – that is Nord Stream 2,” Putin said. “We can put that into operation.”

The Nord Stream 1 pipeline – which is currently the main gas pipeline from Russia to Germany – was commissioned in 2011 and has a capacity of around 55 billion cubic metres of gas per year.

Since June, however, Russia’s state-owned energy giant Gazprom has reduced gas deliveries to Germany by around 60 percent to 67 million cubic metres per day.

Currently, the more than 1200-kilometre-long pipeline is also completely shut down for annual maintenance work, which is scheduled until Thursday. Some fear that the gas deliveries could be stopped entirely. 

Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) has criticised Russia for using the Siemens Energy turbine as a “pretext” for reducing its gas deliveries into Europe. 

After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Moscow gradually cut off the gas to several European countries that have shown support for the war-torn nation. Germany believes Putin is using energy as a weapon to fight back against the ongoing sanctions. 

The turbine in question, which was recently repaired in Canada, was held back for a long time as part of the sanctions. Most recently, however, Berlin lobbied its ally to return the turbine to Germany so that it could be reinstalled in the pipeline.

According to the German government, the delivery of the device is exempt from the EU sanctions against Russia because they are not directed against gas transit.

However, Moscow has said that so far neither the machine nor the accompanying documents have arrived.

Moreover, Putin’s statements in Tehran suggest that even after the end of the maintenance work and even if the turbine were installed, the pipeline still might not be brought back up to full capacity.

This could prompt the government to emergency energy measures in place in Germany this winter.

READ ALSO: 

Member comments

  1. Well if you’re not prepared for blackouts and shutdowns. I’d start getting ready for it now. It would be optimistic to think you have any time much past November. Enjoy this heatwave the winters going to be a cold one.

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ENERGY

German gas giant reports steep losses from Russian squeeze

German energy giant Uniper on Wednesday reported heavy first-half losses which it blamed on Russia squeezing gas deliveries in the wake of the Ukraine war.

German gas giant reports steep losses from Russian squeeze

The company, which accepted a government rescue package last month, said that it had recorded a net loss in the first six months of the year of €12.3 billion ($12.5 billion).

“Uniper has for months been playing a crucial role in stabilising Germany’s gas supply at the cost of billions in losses resulting from the sharp drop in gas deliveries from Russia,” CEO Klaus-Dieter Maubach said in a statement.

The German government agreed in late July to take an around 30-percent stake in Uniper, which was threatened with bankruptcy as a result of the crisis.

Maubach said on Wednesday that the bailout would “prevent a chain reaction that would do much more damage”.

READ ALSO: German government to take 30 percent stake in gas company Uniper

“Our top priority now is to swiftly implement the stabilisation package,” he added.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz interrupted his summer holiday to announce the rescue plan, calling Uniper a “company of vital importance for the economic development of our country and for the energy supply of our citizens”.

Uniper said the “volatile environment” meant that it could not provide an earnings forecast for the current financial year.

But it expected “to record negative earnings owing to the significant reduction in Russian gas deliveries”.

Russia’s war in Ukraine has caused turmoil in European energy markets, especially in Germany, which is heavily dependent on Russian gas.

EU states have accused Russia of choking supplies in retaliation for Western sanctions over the war, with Germany charging that Moscow is usingnenergy as a “weapon”.

Russia in July restored critical gas supplies to Europe through Germany via the Nord Stream pipeline after 10 days of maintenance, but at low volumes, and suspicions linger that the Kremlin may trigger an energy crisis on the continent this winter.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: What are Germany’s alternatives to Russian gas?

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