The Nord Stream 1 pipeline is the main artery for supplying the European Union with natural gas from Russia. Ironically, it currently only has a capacity utilization of 40 percent.
In Germany, where Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) announced the alarm level of the gas emergency plan on Thursday, the situation on the tense gas market is also getting worse.
As a reason for the reduced performance of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, Russia states that a Siemens turbine sent to Canada for maintenance was not returned.
The turbine cannot be sent back because of the sanctions imposed on Russia as a result of the Ukraine war, as confirmed by Siemens Energy. It is required in a compressor station of the pipeline, the entry point where the gas is pumped into the Baltic Sea pipeline.
Canada faces a dilemma. “We want to respect the sanctions, because they are there for a good reason,” quoted Canada’s Energy Minister Jonathan Wilkinson from Bloomberg. “On the other hand, the sanctions were never about hitting Germany significantly, the country is one of our closest friends and allies. So the topic is very important to us.”
The flow of goods, the manufacture and even the maintenance of devices are globalized, which is why the economic sanctions against Russia also affect the West itself. The Russian oil and gas industry is currently not supplied with important technology by the countries that support the sanctions. This also includes the turbines that Siemens manufactures in Canada and regularly maintains there.
“We are in talks with Germany and are trying to find a way to enable the gas to flow again,” explains the Canadian minister. “There could be different ways to do that.” He would also like to use the G7 summit in Elmau, which begins on Sunday, for this purpose, but does not expect a solution by the end of the meeting.
According to information from the price information service ICIS, the Russian gas company Gazprom currently earns around 100 million euros a day from natural gas sales to Europe. That’s about as much as a year ago – with only a quarter as much gas being sold.
As Tom Marzec-Manser, head of the gas market at the analysis service ICIS in London, told Tagesspiegel Background, there is a possibility for Russia to supply Europe with gas as agreed, despite the technical problem with Nord Stream 1.