This file photo taken on Nov 8, 2011 shows a view of the gas pipeline prior to an inaugural ceremony for the first of Nord Stream's twin 1,224 kilometre gas pipelines through the Baltic Sea, in Lubmin, northeastern Germany. (JOHN MACDOUGALL / AFP)
BERLIN / MOSCOW – Natural gas deliveries from Russia to Germany via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline were further reduced on Wednesday to 20 percent of capacity, the pipeline operator said.
Germany has allowed more coal-fired power generation as a result of reduced gas supplies and is discussing a halt to the country's nuclear phase-out
Russian state-owned energy company Gazprom announced the reduction on Monday citing a missing turbine. Apart from a 10-day shutdown for maintenance work earlier this month, gas flows through the strategically important pipeline had already been reduced to 40 percent.
Although the situation remains "tense and further deterioration cannot be ruled out," security of supply in Germany is currently assured, the country's Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) said. The reduction also affects the transfer of gas to other European countries, such as France and Austria.
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European gas TTF (Title Transfer Facility) futures were trading at around 227 euros ($230) per megawatt hour on Wednesday, three times the price before the start of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. "Businesses and private consumers must prepare for significantly rising gas prices," the German network agency warned.
Prices for energy products in Germany have been rising sharply and were up 38 percent year-on-year in June, according to the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis). Heating oil prices more than doubled, while natural gas was around 61 percent more expensive.
Germany has allowed more coal-fired power generation as a result of reduced gas supplies and is discussing a halt to the country's nuclear phase-out. Continued operation of the remaining nuclear power plants beyond the end of the year could not be ruled out, according to Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate Action Robert Habeck.
In order to prepare for the coming winter, the energy ministers of the European Union member states agreed on Tuesday on a voluntary 15 percent reduction target for gas use from the average from 2017-2021 until the end of March 2023.
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"We are doing everything we can to ensure that there is no gas shortage," Habeck said. "We have to save energy and find alternative sources."
The EU decision has also made it possible to trigger a "Union alert" once security of supply reaches crisis levels. In this case, gas demand reduction would become mandatory. Member states that are not connected to the gas networks of other member states are exempt from mandatory gas reductions.
"We are now ready to address our energy security at European scale, as a Union," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said.
A photo taken on July 20, 2022 shows the industrial plant of the Nord Stream 1 Baltic Sea pipeline near Lubmin, northeastern Germany. (EDOUARD MERLO / AFP)
Gazprom says Siemens failed to repair Nord Stream turbine engines
Gazprom said Wednesday that Siemens failed to fulfill its obligations and had not returned a repaired turbine engine for the Nord Stream 1 pipeline
Gazprom said Wednesday that Siemens failed to fulfill its obligations and had not returned a repaired turbine engine for the Nord Stream 1 pipeline.
"Back in May, we expected to receive one repaired engine from Siemens, but to date we have not received this engine," local media reported citing Vitaly Markelov, deputy chairman of the Management Committee of Gazprom.
"Open questions still remain in relation to sanctions risks, which prevent the return of this gas turbine engine to Russia, and the transportation of other engines for repair," he added.
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According to Markelov, problems remain with unrepaired engines at the compressor station, and "Siemens is not carrying out work to eliminate these problems."
Markelov said that six gas pumping units are usually used at the compressor station, and only one engine is in working order while the rest are not working due to technical problems.
He said that the company hadn't experienced problems with the repair of the engines prior to the imposition of anti-Russian sanctions.