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Gas as a “weapon of war”: Moscow announces reopening of Nord Stream valves

  • Post category:Economy News
  • Reading time:3 mins read

Russia appears ready to resume gas deliveries to Europe via the Nord Stream pipeline on Saturday, after a short maintenance, according to data released by the pipeline operator on Friday.

The reopening of the valves would be a relief for the countries of the EU, but without allaying their fears that new interruptions will occur this winter on this key gas pipeline linking Russia to northern Germany.

The dispatch orders, published by the site of the company Nord Stream, operator of the gas pipeline, indicate that the flows should restart from 02:00 am (00:00 GMT) at 20% of normal capacity, the same level as before maintenance work.

This work began on Wednesday and reduced transit to zero. Announcements on expected volumes may still change and must be confirmed by actual flows. The Russian energy company Gazprom had justified the suspension of flows by the need for maintenance work on a compressor station of the pipe, located in Russia.

War weapon

In the context of the war in Ukraine, energy is at the heart of a showdown between Moscow and the West, who regularly accuse Russia of using gas “as a weapon”. A German official had deemed this week’s interruption “technically incomprehensible”. Gazprom has continuously reduced the quantities delivered by Nord Stream over the past few months. In July, the company had already carried out ten days of maintenance work on the gas pipeline which had then been restarted but with a further drop in deliveries.

Before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Nord Stream transported around a third of the 153 billion m3 of gas purchased annually by the EU. Germany exports part of the volumes arriving on its territory to the continent. To compensate for the missing quantities, European countries are trying to find other suppliers and reduce their consumption against a backdrop of skyrocketing gas prices on the markets.

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