- Jennifer Meierhans
- BBC News
Russian energy giant Gazprom has announced a sharp cut in gas supplies to the European Union through its main gas pipeline due to maintenance work.
These work on gas pipe Nord Stream 1 They will reduce daily gas production by 20% and halve current supply levels.
The German government said there was no technical reason to cut gas supplies.
With this move by Gazprom, it is possible for EU countries It is very difficult to fill gas reserves before winter.
pipe Nord Stream 1Gas from Russia to Germany has been running below capacity for weeks and has been shut down entirely for a maintenance break. 10 days Earlier this month.
Russia delivered 40% of its gas to the EU last year, and Brussels has accused Russia of using energy as a weapon.
The European Commission Russia has urged countries to cut gas consumption by 15% over the next seven months after the warning.
Under the proposal, the voluntary target could be made mandatory in an emergency.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the possibility of Russia cutting off all supplies to the EU was “a possible scenario”.
On Tuesday, energy ministers will meet in Brussels to try to approve the plans. But several exit options are expected amid opposition from some member states such as Spain and Portugal.
Wholesale gas prices have risen since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, with a knock-on effect on consumers’ energy bills.
Reacting to Gazprom’s announcement, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said it was “an open gas war waged by Russia against a united Europe – and it must be perceived correctly”.
Gazprom said the latest reduction in supply will begin at 04:00 GMT on Wednesday due to the “technical condition” of one of the two last operating turbines.
But a spokesman for the German economy ministry told the AFP news agency: “According to the information we have, There is no technical reason for the slowdown in deliveries.”
The Kremlin maintains that it is a reliable energy partner and blames Western sanctions for the recent disruption in gas supplies to the EU.
Gazprom says it has been forced to keep gas flows through Nord Stream 1 at just 40% capacity due to bottlenecks-delayed return of repaired equipment to Canada.
“Our product, our rules. We don’t play by rules we didn’t make,” Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller said.
Continued declines in gas supplies through Nord Stream 1 will make it difficult for countries to replenish their reserves before winter, when gas use is at its peak.
Gazprom has completely cut off gas supplies to Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands and Poland. For refusing to comply with the Kremlin’s order, payment must be made in rubles rather than euros or dollars.
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