Home World Gazprom turns off the taps on Germany, but Berlin rejects explanations: “Political move by the Kremlin”

Gazprom turns off the taps on Germany, but Berlin rejects explanations: “Political move by the Kremlin”

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Gazprom turns off the taps on Germany, but Berlin rejects explanations: “Political move by the Kremlin”

In the end, what had been feared a month ago happened when Gazprom, the Russian gas giant, announced the partial closure of deliveries to Germany of the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline at 60%. News that hit Berlin to the heart and that in the last few hours has worsened when the announcement of the total suspension of supplies arrived from Moscow.

Today as yesterday, the explanation given by Gazprom would be of a technical nature. The giant has declared “causes of force majeure” for the stop of gas supplies to Europe. The communication, according to Reuters, is contained in a letter sent to Rwe, the largest German energy producer and Russian gas importer.

The letter states that Gazprom was unable to fulfill its supply obligations due to “extraordinary” circumstances beyond its control. “Force majeure” which came into effect retroactively from deliveries starting June 14 when the cause of the decrease in supplies was made justified by the delay of a turbine held in Canada by the supplier of Siemens Energy equipment.

At the basis of this definitive closure, on the other hand, there would be maintenance interventions on the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline, an announcement that many see as yet another strategic move dictated by the Kremlin to “starve” Europe in terms of energy and thus counteract the weight of sanctions against Russia due to the invasion of Ukraine.

In fact, the letter would protect Gazprom from paying penalties for interrupted supplies. Reuters reports that an internal source (who asked to remain anonymous) said that maintenance on Nord Stream 1, the cause of the suspension of the supply, should be completed by 21 July and that Canada has sent the turbine in Germany by plane on July 17 after the necessary repair. A delivery that should take place in seven days.

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An explanation that has deep gray areas and that Berlin has rejected.

“The Nord Stream 1 turbine, at the center of the tensions between Germany and Russia over gas deliveries through the pipeline, should have been installed only in September”. This is what the German government communicated, which insists that there should therefore be no technical obstacles to the flow of gas through Nord Stream 1. “We see no technical reasons – the spokeswoman for the Ministry of Economy Beate Baron in Berlin told reporters – The our information is that this turbine is a replacement and should have been put into operation in September but, once again, we are doing everything to eliminate possible pretexts for the Russian side ”.

Baron did not say where the turbine is currently located, citing safety reasons, but said that no European Union permit is required for its transport because it does not fall under EU sanctions. Gazprom has raised the turbine issue twice in the past few days, saying on Saturday it had “formally approached” Siemens Energy to provide the necessary documents to bring the equipment back to Russia. The Frankfurt Stock Exchange partially blamed the news, cutting the final gain to + 0.74% of the Dax index, after hitting a maximum of + 1.5%. “Germany will have to pay more for energy, some sectors of their manufacturing industry and the cost of living in general will take a hit. If their economy takes a hit, it will extend to the eurozone as a whole, ”said David Madden, a market analyst at Equiti Capital.

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Gazprom’s is a move to protect itself that does not bode well for 21 July, when the scheduled maintenance period of the pipeline will end and in theory the flows should restart and Europe has started to move to counter the backlash. Ursula von der Leyen flew to Baku to sign a memorandum of understanding that will lead to a doubling of Azerbaijani natural gas supplies between now and 2027. And while in Algiers the Italian government signed a maxi agreement to strengthen the energy partnership with the North African country, in a Germany terrified by the possible effects of the total stop of Russian methane, Chancellor Olaf Scholz received Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, president of an Egypt that has become crucial in the transit of gas to Europe. The crux, for Brussels, remains that of the times.

Europe, in fact, is preparing for an energy rationing and is preparing to do so already now. “We need to save 12 billion cubic meters over the next three months to avoid a ‘gas cruch’ in winter”, is the warning issued by the International Energy Agency, according to which without immediate action “Europe could face cuts and much more dramatic contingencies later. ”

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