Jakarta, CNBC Indonesia – Russia will temporarily close the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline for annual maintenance. The summer maintenance activity, which stretches under the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany, is scheduled to run from July 11 to July 21.
But many fear the Kremlin is using planned maintenance activities to shut off the taps of the European Union’s (EU) biggest gas import infrastructure forever.
Quotation CNBC InternationalOn Tuesday (05/07/2022), the self-sustaining happened when Russia cut its gas flow to Europe by around 60%, and it’s not yet clear when or if the gas flow Nord Stream 1 will return to normal.
As a result, European governments are scrambling to fill underground storage with natural gas to provide households with enough fuel to keep lights on and homes warm during the winter.
The European Union, which receives around 40% of its gas through Russian pipelines, is trying to rapidly reduce its dependence on Russian hydrocarbons in response to President Vladimir Putin’s months-long offensive against Ukraine.
Klaus Mueller, the head of Germany’s energy regulator, said Russia could continue to squeeze European gas supplies beyond the latest planned maintenance work.
“We cannot rule out the possibility that gas transportation may not resume after that for political reasons,” he said, adding that no gas should be transported by pipeline once annual inspections have been completed.
Analysts at political risk consultancy Eurasia Group agree with this statement. This was conveyed by Henning Gloystein, director of energy, climate and resources at Eurasia Group.
“If supplies don’t come back after maintenance…then the plan to refill gas storage by the end of the summer may not work,” he said.
“One of the main concerns of policy makers in the EU and the energy sector in general is that they have almost no idea what is going to happen, because most communication with Gazprom has now been cut,” Gloystein added.
The Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline is majority owned by the Russian gas company Gazprom. The flow of gas pipelines from Russia to Europe has come under particular scrutiny in recent weeks, given growing fears of disruption.
Gazprom cited delays in returning equipment serviced by Germany’s Siemens Energy to Canada due to reduced throughput in the pipeline.
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