What Russia’s Decision to Cut Off Nord Stream 1 Means For Europe – Europe looks set for a major energy crisis this winter after Russian state energy company Gazprom announced that the export of natural gas to Europe through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline would cease indefinitely.
The move was announced by Gazprom on Friday, confirming in a statement that it has no plans to resume gas flow through the pipeline over the weekend.
The Russia’s state energy giant blamed an oil leak at the Portovaya compressor station, which was shut down on Wednesday for maintenance, but the move could also be a political ploy to force European countries to reconsider economic sanctions against Russia.
The news also comes as Russia’s forces in Ukraine face an uphill battle as Ukrainian forces continue to gain ground as part of a new counteroffensive in southeastern Ukraine. It follows a previous suspension of services after a turbine broke in the pipeline.
Gazprom revealed in a statement that until the issues are resolved, gas supplies to the Nord Stream pipeline “have been completely stopped.”
The Nord Stream 1 pipeline, which connects Russia and Germany with a natural gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea, is the biggest pipeline bringing Russian natural gas into Europe. In 2021, 40% of the European Union’s gas was supplied by Russia. Without that supply, the continent faces serious a serious dilemma as we head toward the winter.
Russia Playing Political Games?
Gazprom’s statement on the closure of the pipeline could well have been propaganda, and experts have said as much.
On Saturday, Gazprom announced that Siemens Energy was preparing to carry out the necessary repairs on the pipeline to bring it back online. In a statement, the energy company claimed that Siemens expressed willingness to perform the repairs but had nowhere available to carry out the necessary work.
Siemens denied the claim, however, and said that the company had not been asked to perform the repairs.
“Siemens is taking part in repair work in accordance with the current contract, is detecting malfunctions … and is ready to fix the oil leaks. Only there is nowhere to do the repair,” Gazprom said in a statement on Telegram on Saturday.
A spokesperson for Siemens said that despite not having already been asked or commissioned to carry out the work, which would involve fixing a broken turbine, the company is available to carry it out. The company also seemed to suggest that Gazprom’s claim that the pipeline was broken so badly it cannot be safely used was incorrect.
“Irrespective of this, we have already pointed out several times that there are enough additional turbines available in the Portovaya compressor station for Nord Stream 1 to operate,” a spokesperson said.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.