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Russia resumes key gas supplies to Europe via Nord Stream

#Russia #resumes #key #gas #supplies #Europe #Nord #Stream

Russia on Thursday resumed critical gas supplies to Europe via Germany and reopened the Nord Stream gas pipeline after 10 days, but uncertainty remained over whether the continent could avert an energy crisis this winter.

“It works,” said a Nord Stream spokesman, without specifying the amount of gas supplied.

The federal government had feared that Moscow would not reopen the pipeline after the planned work.

It believes Russia is squeezing supplies in retaliation for Western sanctions over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

According to the Russian state energy giant Gazprom to Gascade, the German operator of the line, 530 gigawatt hours (GWh) would be delivered during the day.

That’s only 30 percent of its capacity, said Klaus Müller, President of Germany’s energy regulator, the Federal Network Agency, on Twitter.

Gazprom has cut inflows into Germany via the vital Nord Stream 1 pipeline by around 40 percent in recent weeks, blaming the lack of a Siemens gas turbine that was being repaired in Canada.

The German government has rejected Gazprom’s statement.

The Nord Stream 1 pipeline under the Baltic Sea has been shut down for annual maintenance since July 11.

However, according to experts, resuming 40 percent of the supply would not be enough to avert an energy crisis in Europe this winter.

The European Commission on Wednesday urged EU countries to cut demand for natural gas by 15 percent in the coming months to secure winter supplies and defeat Russia’s “blackmail”.

EU commissioners announced a contingency plan and also called on member states to give Brussels special powers to impose mandatory energy rationing if Russia cuts off Europe’s gas lifeline.

A complete halt to imports or a sharp reduction in flow from East to West could have catastrophic effects on Europe’s economy, closing factories and forcing homes to turn down their heating.

Last year, Russia accounted for 40 percent of the EU’s total gas imports, and any further disruption in supply would also push up consumer prices and increase the risk of a deep recession.

“Russia is blackmailing us,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told reporters.

“Russia uses energy as a weapon and therefore Europe must be ready in any case, whether it is a partial large-scale Russian gas shutdown or a complete shutdown.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin has played hot and cold with his threats to halt gas supplies to the bloc of 27 members in recent days, but Brussels is urging EU countries to prepare for the worst.

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