June 28, 2022

Raven Tribune

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Germans demand energy conservation as Russia cuts gas flow to Europe

Germans demand energy conservation as Russia cuts gas flow to Europe

The German government has issued an appeal to citizens in the European Union’s largest economy to conserve energy, as Russia cuts gas supplies to more European countries.

German Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck said the situation was “dangerous” and “now is the time” for businesses and ordinary citizens to save energy and store gas. said in video call Posted on Twitter on Thursday.

Russia’s state-controlled gas exporter Gazprom has cut flows through the Nord Stream pipeline, which runs under the Baltic Sea to Germany, by 60 percent in recent days, citing technical problems. But Germany said This move is political. Amid rising tensions between Moscow and the West over the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

RWE, Germany’s largest energy supplier, reported lower gas flows on Thursday. Italian supplies fell 15 percent on Wednesday, Italian energy company Eni said shortages worsened on Thursday, while Slovakia reported a 30 percent drop in flows. Meanwhile, Austrian energy company OMV said Gazprom had told it to cut delivery volumes.

Russia’s supply restrictions came at the head of the leaders of Germany, Italy and France visited Kyiv On Thursday in a show of support for the Ukrainian government after nearly four months of war.

European Union politicians accused Russia of effectively arming its role as one of the world’s largest oil and gas producers, while European sanctions that followed the invasion raised fears of further retaliatory cuts by Russia.

European gas prices, already near record levels, rose more than 70 percent this week in response to recent supply restrictions, reaching 146 euros per megawatt-hour on Wednesday – an increase of nearly 30 percent on the day.

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Gazprom blamed technical problems with its Nord Stream pipeline for reducing gas flows to Germany after Canadian sanctions halted pumping equipment supplied by Germany’s Siemens Energy following repairs at its Montreal plant. Only about 67 million cubic meters of gas is now pumped through Nord Stream – 40 percent of its technical capacity.

Russia’s envoy to the European Union, Vladimir Chizhov, warned on Thursday that further problems with reforms could lead to a complete shutdown of the pipeline, with serious consequences for Germany.

“One should ask Siemens why it had to send turbines to Canada for repair,” Chizhov told RIA Novosti news agency. “When all these turbines go to Canada for maintenance, they can stop. I think it would be a disaster for Germany.”

On Thursday, Alexei Miller, head of Gazprom, said there was “no solution” to the problem of Nord Stream turbines because only the Canadian plant could repair Siemens Energy’s turbines.

He added that Canada said it could not return the turbines because it is the only country that has imposed sanctions on Gazprom.

Almost all of its other turbines were on the verge of needing maintenance, Miller said, speaking at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, “but we can’t send them to Canada.” He added that Siemens Energy is trying to find a solution to the problem.

Miller said higher gas prices had offset the blow of a double-digit drop in Gazprom’s exports to Europe and Turkey. “Price has grown. . . many times. So excuse me but if I said we weren’t angry with anyone, I wouldn’t lie.”

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Habeck said Berlin was aware that Canada’s sanctions could affect maintenance schedules for Nord Stream’s pressure stations, but that this was likely to become an issue in the fall.

He added that the technical reasons cited by Gazprom were just an “excuse” and that reducing flows was a “political measure”. “[Russian president Vladimir] Putin is doing what we feared he would do from the start. It reduces gas volume, not all at once but gradually.”

“The Kremlin [has] I decided to continue escalation and blackmail the European Union.”

He said Russia could make up for the lower volumes passing through Nord Stream by increasing gas supplies through Ukraine and Poland, but “they don’t have [the] Will’ to do that.

Meanwhile, Eni said in a statement that the shortage of gas delivery at Gazprom has worsened. The company said it requested additional supplies to be delivered on Thursday to make up for the previous day’s cut. But Gazprom said it will provide only 65 percent of Eni’s order, or about 32 million cubic metres – far less than the amount needed to restore lost volumes.

Eni said Gazprom blamed the shortages on problems at its plant in Portovaya, which feeds Nord Stream.

In Austria, which imports about 80 percent of its gas from Russia, OMV said that despite lower flows, demand could be covered by using existing stores and supplies from the spot market, thanks to lower consumption during the current heat wave. “The supply is guaranteed to our customers,” the company added.

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However, analysts warn that while immediate gas supplies can be met, storage is filling before the peak winter Demand will be more difficult if Russian supplies continue to decline.

Additional reporting by Amy Kazmin in Rome, Sam Jones in Zurich, Joe Miller in Frankfurt and Andy Pounds in Brussels.