Russia resumes critical gas supplies to Europe via Nord Stream 1 | Energy News

The pipeline under the Baltic Sea had been shut since July 11 to undergo annual maintenance, amid fears of a permanent halt in retaliation for Western sanctions.

Russia has reopened the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline after 10 days of stopping critical supplies to Europe through Germany, dispelling fears of a retaliatory halt of gas shipments from Moscow.

“It’s working,” a Nord Stream spokesman said, without specifying the amount of gas being delivered.

According to data provided by Russia’s state-owned energy giant Gazprom to Gascade, the German operator of the line, 530 gigawatt hours (GWh) would be delivered during the day.

This was only 30 percent of its capacity, Klaus Mueller, president of Germany’s energy regulator, the Federal Network Agency, said on Twitter.

The Nord Stream 1 pipeline under the Baltic Sea had been shut since July 11 to undergo annual maintenance.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin had indicated that gas shipments via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline would restart as soon as maintenance was complete, but also warned that flows may be limited unless a dispute over sanctioned parts is resolved.

Gazprom cut flows to Germany via the vital Nord Stream 1 pipeline by some 40 percent last month, blaming the absence of a Siemens gas turbine that was undergoing repairs in Canada.

The German government rejected Gazprom’s explanation and feared that Moscow would not reopen the pipeline after the scheduled work, in retaliation for Western sanctions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The European Commission on Wednesday urged European Union countries to reduce demand for natural gas by 15 percent over the coming months to secure winter stocks and defeat Russia’s “blackmail”.

Announcing an emergency plan, EU commissioners also asked member states to give Brussels special powers to impose compulsory energy rationing if Russia cuts off Europe’s gas lifeline.

“Russia is blackmailing us,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told reporters.

“Russia is using energy as a weapon and therefore, in any event, whether it’s a partial major cut-off of Russian gas or total cut-off … Europe needs to be ready.”

A total shutdown of imports or a sharp reduction in the flow from east to west could have a catastrophic effect on the European economy, shutting factories and forcing households to turn down the heat.

Last year, Russia accounted for some 40 percent of the EU’s total gas imports and any further disruption to supply would also push consumer prices higher and raise the risk of a deep recession.

The pipeline restart came after comments from Russia’s foreign minister showed the Kremlin’s goals had expanded during the five-month war.

Sergey Lavrov told state news agency RIA Novosti on Wednesday that Russia’s military “tasks” in Ukraine now go beyond the eastern Donbas region.

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