The flow of gas from Russia to Germany through Nord Stream 1 stopped for maintenance until July 21, severely reducing the country’s gas imports, the pipeline operator said on Monday.
“Nord Stream AG has started maintenance work on the pipeline. The flow of gas through the pipeline will be throttled within a few hours of the start of the work,” a company spokesperson told Xinhua.
Gas storage facilities in Germany are currently filled at 64.6 percent, according to the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA). The country seeks to reach a storage level of 90 percent before winter.
Although gas supply in Germany remained secure, the situation was “tense and a deterioration of the situation cannot be ruled out,” BNetzA said on Monday.
In the event of a shortage in winter, the government would have to decide on who gets no more gas, a “political nightmare scenario,” Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action Robert Habeck warned last week.
“That will put Germany to a test that we have not had for a long time,” Habeck said.
The Nord Stream 1 pipeline, which went into operation in 2011, transports gas from Vyborg in Russia to Lubmin in northeastern Germany. From there, gas is further transported to other European countries such as Belgium, Denmark, France and the Netherlands, according to the operator.
However, some countries such as Denmark, France and the Netherlands, have no longer received any Russian gas because they refused to pay their bills in rubles.
“We also need to prepare now for further disruption of gas supply and even a complete cutoff of Russian gas supply,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen warned last week.
The share of the European Union (EU)’s gas supply provided by Russia dropped from over 40 percent in 2021 to 20 percent in June 2022, according to Brussels-based Bruegel think tank. Without any Russian gas, the EU would have to reduce demand by approximately 15 percent.
Last month, Russia curtailed the flow of gas through Nord Stream 1 to 40 percent of the pipeline’s total capacity, citing the delayed return of a turbine being serviced by German company Siemens Energy in Canada.
Germany’s government in June declared the second stage of the country’s national gas emergency plan as a result of the reduced gas capacity. “The situation is serious,” said Habeck, describing the cutback in gas supplies as an “economic attack.” ■