Russian energy giant Gazprom has postponed a Saturday deadline to restore flows via a crucial gas supply route to Europe, citing an oil leakage in the Nord Stream 1 pipeline discovered during maintenance.The energy company had shut down the pipeline on Wednesday for what it said would be three days of maintenance, but said in a social media post on Friday evening that it had identified “malfunctions” of a turbine.
“Gas transmission via the Nord Stream pipeline has been fully shut down until the operational defects in the equipment are eliminated,” Gazprom said in a statement, without providing a new timetable for when flows will resume.
The move compounds Europe’s difficulties in securing enough fuel for the approaching cold winter months, as Nord Stream 1 provides much-needed supplies to Germany and other European nations.
Moscow has blamed sanctions imposed by the West following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine for impeding routine maintenance on the pipeline, but some European Union officials have accused Russia of using energy as a weapon.
“This is part of Russia’s psychological war against us,” tweeted Michael Roth, chair of the German parliamentary foreign affairs committee.
— Gazprom (@GazpromEN) September 2, 2022
Siemens Energy, which regularly maintains Nord Stream 1 turbines, said on Friday that the leak Gazprom said had been found typically was no reason to halt gas flow, as its repair fell within the scope of maintenance work.
“Such leaks do not normally affect the operation of a turbine and can be sealed on site,” the company said in a statement. “In the past, too, the occurrence of this type of leak has not led to a shutdown of operations.”
Adding that it was currently not contracted to work on that specific maintenance issue, Siemens said it had “pointed out several times that there are sufficient other turbines available at the Portovaya compressor station for Nord Stream 1 to operate”.
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