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Russia Delays Reopening of Nord Stream in Blow to Gas-Starved Europe

Published: September 2, 2022
Russia will miss the Sept. 3 deadline to resume gas flow via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, saying that international sanctions are hampering its efforts to perform routine maintenance on the pipeline. (Image: Reuters/Screenshot)

Russia has scrapped a Sept. 3 deadline to resume gas flows via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, one of the main supply routes to Europe, after saying it discovered a fault during maintenance, deepening Europe’s difficulties in securing fuel for winter.

Nord Stream 1, which runs under the Baltic Sea to supply Germany and others, had been due to resume operating after a three-day halt for maintenance on Saturday at 0100 GMT.

But Gazprom, the state-controlled firm with a monopoly on Russian gas exports via pipeline, said on Friday it could no longer provide a timeframe for restarting deliveries after finding an oil leak that meant a pipeline turbine could not run safely.

Moscow has blamed sanctions, imposed by the West after Russia invaded Ukraine, for hampering routine operations and maintenance of Nord Stream 1. Brussels says this is a pretext and Russia is using gas as an economic weapon to retaliate.

Gas prices have sky-rocketed, hurting European industry and households, surging first due to recovering demand after the pandemic and then rising further because of the Ukraine crisis.

On Friday evening, Klaus Mueller, president of German energy regulator Bundesnetzagentur, tweeted that while Germany was better prepared this time, it was now essential that everyone ‘did their bit’ to save on gas usage.

By Reuters. (Reporting by Tanya Wood, Petra Haverkamp)