31 August 2022
Russia has completely cut off gas supplies to Europe, citing gas pipeline repairs.
Russia’s state-owned energy giant Gazprom said gas supplies through the Nord Stream One gas pipeline would remain suspended until Saturday.
Russia had already drastically cut gas supplies to Europe.
Russia, however, denies allegations that it is using energy supplies as a weapon against Western countries.
The length of the Nord Stream One pipeline is twelve hundred kilometers. It runs from the coast near St. Petersburg, Russia, under the Baltic Sea to northeastern Germany.
Nord Stream One was launched in 2011. A maximum of 170 million cubic meters of gas per day can be sent from Russia to Germany through this pipeline.
Last July too, this pipeline was closed for ten days due to repair. Only twenty percent of the total capacity was being supplied with gas recently. Russia cited a technical glitch as the reason.
The president of Germany’s gas network regulator said they could deal with the temporary shutdown of gas supplies if Russia restarts supplies in the coming days.
Klaus Müller told Reuters news agency, “We assume that we can manage the situation. We believe that Russia will restart 20 percent of the supply from Saturday, but no one can really say what will happen.”
European leaders fear that Russia is cutting off gas supplies in order to drive up gas prices in the market. Gas prices have already increased manifold in the last one year.
It is feared that there will be a big shortage of energy in the coming winter season in Europe. In many countries, governments must provide hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidies so that people can pay their energy bills.
Agnes Panier Runacher, a French energy minister, accused Russia of using energy as a weapon of war.
He made the allegations after Russia’s Gazprom suspended gas supplies to a French energy company.
But a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin denied the allegations, saying the Western sanctions were disrupting gas supplies as they damaged Russian infrastructure.
Last May, Russia shut down a gas pipeline running through Belarus and Poland. Through this, Russia used to send gas to some European countries including Germany.
Then in mid-June, gas supplies through Nord Stream One were cut by three-quarters to just 40 million cubic meters per day.
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In early July, Nord Stream One was shut down for ten days for maintenance work.
Then immediately after the restart it said that Gazprom would cut supply by another twenty percent.
And with this news, the wholesale price of gas in Europe increased by ten percent within a day.