Officially, North Stream 1 only stops for 3-day maintenance
(Sustainabilityenvironmanent.com) – New stop to Russian gas supplies. Officially, for extraordinary maintenance of three days. From this morning, flows through North Stream 1, the gas pipeline that mainly supplies Germany but also other European countries including Italy, have been wiped out.
From 3 am, flow data at North Stream 1 entry points dropped rapidly to zero. The operation, said the Russian news agency TASS, is necessary for maintenance work at the compression station of Portovaya. Already finished in the spotlight in recent months when Moscow had used delays in replacing one of the turbines (due to Western sanctions) to start closing the taps. First bringing the flows to 40%, then from the end of July to 20% of the total capacity.
The work should last only 3 days and be completed in the morning of Saturday, September 3. But there are fears in Berlin and other European capitals that the Kremlin will not reopen the taps this time. Some maintenance details make you think so. Unlike the one – scheduled – in July, this time the announcement came with little notice (two weeks) and the operations will be carried out directly by Gazprom, not by Nord Stream AG, the consortium that manages the pipeline and also includes the Dutch Gasunie, the French Engie and the German Wintershall Sea and E.ON.
Then there is the timing. Russia in recent months has used gas flows to keep up the pressure on Europe. At the beginning of September, EU countries will meet to decide new extraordinary measures against the energy crisis and a stop to North Stream 1 could give new arguments to those among the 27 who would like a softer approach towards Moscow. Without forgetting storage: these days Europe has substantially reached the targets set by the EU Repower plan for 1 November. But with new stops it could struggle to maintain storage levels without sacrifices from the industry.