Just five days after the gas supply through the North Stream 1, the Russian gas giant Gazpromhas announced a new problem in a turbine and a new one reduction of the energy flow to Europe, which will now receive only 20% of the total productivity.
The Russian company issued a statement on Monday afternoon in which it alleged that a technical problem with a new turbine will cause “from 7:00 Moscow (4.00 GMT) the daily productivity of the Portóvaya pumping station will be 33 million cubic meters per day”. A little less than a week ago, Germany He was breathing easy after the gas pipeline was reactivated at half throttle, which was paralyzed for ten days due to another technical problem with one of the turbines. On July 21, the return of gas supply prevented the feared industrial collapse and the threat of rationing that the German authorities have planned if Russia ends up completely cutting off the flow of gas.
However, the reduction announced on Monday by the Russian giant puts the entire European Commission on alert, which is working against the clock to plan an emergency plan to ensure gas in Europe during the winter.
Brussels has affirmed this Tuesday that the decision of the Russian Gazprom to reduce the supply of gas through the Nord Stream gas pipeline is “politically motivated” and not for technical reasons. “We know that there is no technical reason to do that (to cut supply through the Nord Stream). This is a politically motivated step and we have to be prepared for that and, for exactly that reason, preemptively reducing our gas demand is a wise strategy”, declared the European Commissioner for Energy, Kadri Simson, upon arrival at the meeting of ministers.
Germany fears the effects
In Germany, the industry fears the effects on economy of the country if there is a “persistent gas shortage”only rectifiable, in his opinion, if Europe shows the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, a “solidarity” response. “We are facing a endurance test for European solidarity”, said the member of the presidency of the Federation of German Industry (BDI), Wolfgang Niedermarkin statements collected by public television ARD.
The reduction in Russian supplies raises fears of a “persistent and long-term shortage”, warned the BDI representative, who considers the European Commission’s (EC) plan to reduce gas consumption by 15% an “important step”. . “The persistent shortage is coming over Germany and over Europe. The whole of society, from the business community, to the public sector and private consumption must save energy wherever possible,” argued Niedermark.
These statements are added to the estimates released this Tuesday by the German economic institute Ifo, according to which the German export sector fears the negative effects of the gas shortage on the country’s foreign trade. According to these evaluations, the expectations of German exporters have fallen to minus 0.5% this July, compared to the positive 3.4% reported in June. “The gas shortage weighs down the expectations of the export sector,” Ifo said in a statement about the mood in one of the traditional engines of the German economy, such as exports.
The German government focuses its efforts from the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in reducing dependence on Russian gas imports, which in February represented 55% of total imports and in June 26%, according to recent data from the Ministry of Economy.
From the EU they do not believe that the reasons announced by Gazprom are the true ones. The Czech Minister of Industry and Trade, Jozef Sikela, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the EU, has said that it is known for sure that Putin will continue through the winter “blackmailing” with the gas supply, for what he has called to “prepare and protect” homes and the economy in the face of this situation. Síkela added that the recent Russian attack on the port of Odessa, key to the export of cereal in Ukrainianshows that Moscow “is not and will never be a reliable partner.”
In addition, he underlined that Gazprom’s announcement about the reduction in supply “immediately caused an increase in prices” and called for reducing dependence on Russian gas “as soon as possible.” “Unity and solidarity is the best weapon we have against Putin and I’m pretty sure that will be what we will show at the end of the day today “, he noted before adding that all countries have made “a great effort to achieve alignment.” “I don’t have the feeling that there is someone who doesn’t want to be part of the game,” he said.