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Russia's Gazprom expected to resume pipeline supplies

AFP . Frankfurt
02 Sep 2022 20:23:50 | Update: 02 Sep 2022 20:25:36
Russia's Gazprom expected to resume pipeline supplies
Gas pipelines are pictured at the Atamanskaya compressor station, facility of Gazprom's Power Of Siberia project outside the far eastern town of Svobodny, in Amur region, Russia November 29, 2019 — Reuters Photo

Russia's Gazprom looked set to resume gas supplies to Europe via Nord Stream 1 this weekend, data from the pipeline operator showed Friday, after a halt that fuelled an energy crisis.

The resumption Saturday of deliveries after the three-day stoppage -- which Gazprom said was needed for repairs -- would bring some short-term relief.

But it will do little to ease fears about further supply disruptions as winter approaches.

Delivery orders, published on the Nord Stream website, indicated that supplies should resume at 2:00 am Saturday (0000 GMT) at 20 per cent of their usual capacity -- the same level as before the latest maintenance works.

The stoppage began on Wednesday, and reduced gas deliveries via the key pipeline that runs from Russia to northern Germany to zero.

Gazprom had said the work on a compressor unit was necessary but Germany's Federal Network Agency said the decision was "technically incomprehensible".

Details of the expected volumes can still change and need to be confirmed by actual deliveries.

A German economy ministry spokeswoman said while the pipeline operator had confirmed some initial orders, "we must nevertheless advise caution, and observe the situation closely".

Europe is facing soaring energy prices after Russia slashed gas deliveries to the region amid soaring tensions following its February invasion of Ukraine.

Germany, which is particularly dependent on Russian gas, has accused Moscow of using energy as a "weapon".

As winter approaches, European consumers are bracing for huge power bills, with some countries like France warning that rationing is a possibility.

The Russian energy giant had already carried out 10 days of long-scheduled maintenance works in July. While it restored gas flows following the works, it drastically reduced supplies just days later, claiming a technical issue on a turbine.

The Kremlin warned Friday that Nord Stream may face future technical difficulties after the ongoing maintenance work, blaming sanctions for a shortage of spare parts.

"There are no technical reserves, only one turbine is working," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

"So the reliability of the operation, of the whole system, is at risk," he said, adding that it was "not through the fault" of Gazprom.