For several days now, only 40 percent of the usual gas supply has been coming through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline. The supply situation is now so threatening that Minister of Economics Habeck has declared the alarm level of the gas emergency plan. Habeck also immediately names the reasons for the reduced deliveries. For example, he claims: “Putin wants our country to disintegrate. But we are not disintegrating, or he calls the gas cutbacks an attack on Germany and accuses Russia of supplying less gas for political reasons. Habeck even claims that Russia is using gas as a weapon against Germany. Already the Greek philosopher Aeschylus (525-456) recognised. “In war, truth is the first casualty”. There are other reasons why less gas is coming via Nord Stream 1.
Gas compressors stuck after maintenance in Canada due to boycott measures
The real cause is more likely to be a technical problem, which is also due to the company’s own boycott measures. Nord Stream 1’s entry point, the Portovaya compressor station in Russia, requires six large gas compressors to pump gas at full capacity into the Baltic Sea pipeline. These gas compressors come from Siemens Energy and need regular maintenance for safety reasons. It is no longer permissible to operate these turbines after the maintenance interval has expired; it would also be far too dangerous. Siemens Energy recently overhauled one of these turbines in Montreal, Canada. However, Canada is now refusing to return it because Canadian sanctions prohibit the export of important technical services to the Russian fossil fuel industry. Currently, there are only two gas compressors still working at the Portovaya compressor station, as others are due for maintenance and delivery to the manufacturer is also not possible due to the boycott measures.
Russia is ready to supply the European Union, but the turbines must be returned after maintenance, the Kremlin announced this week. However, a solution to the problem is not yet in sight.
Canada seeks solution but does not want to violate boycott
“We want to respect the sanctions because the sanctions were imposed for a reason,” said Canadian Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson in an interview with Bloomberg. “That being said, the intention of the sanctions was never to inflict significant pain on Germany, which is one of our closest friends and allies. So we are very concerned about this issue.”
“We are talking to Germany and trying to find a way through which we can actually enable the flow of gas,” Wilkinson said. “There may be different options that we can look at.” The fact is, however, the turbine is still stuck in Canada. This may make the situation even worse, as the next maintenance work is due in just a few days. As every year at the beginning of July, a complete shutdown of 10 days is planned. This is likely to aggravate the situation in Germany even more, as it will then hardly be possible to bring the gas storage facilities up to the legal minimum level before winter.
Federal government rules out delivery via Nord Stream 2
The reduced supply volume could also be compensated via the Yamal pipeline. But Ukraine has throttled throughput there, arguing that it is too dangerous in the current war situation. Alternatively, gas could always be delivered to Germany via the new Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which Russia has already offered. However, the German government vehemently rejects this. The main victim is the German consumer, because gas prices are likely to rise sharply again in the coming days and weeks.