Russian natural gas supply via the Nord Stream pipeline to Germany will remain shut until the Western sanctions that impede gas turbine repairs are lifted, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday.
The gas crisis in Europe took a turn for the worse at the end of last week, when Russian gas giant Gazprom said after three-day maintenance ended on Friday that Nord Stream would remain shut until “operational defects in the equipment are eliminated,” upping the ante in its gas war against Europe.
On Monday, Moscow blamed the difficulties in sending gas to Europe on the Western sanctions.
“The problems with gas shipments arose due to the sanctions western countries imposed against our country and several companies,” Peskov was quoted as saying by Russian news agency Interfax today.
“There are no other reasons that could have caused this pumping problem,” Vladimir Putin’s spokesman added.
"The sanctions bring total confusion in the legal and practical aspect of everything connected with gas turbine maintenance, and Russia now hopes that it could somehow fix the only gas turbine on the Nord Stream route, which malfunctioned last week", Peskov added.
Due to the sanctions, the entire work of the Nord Stream pipeline “depends on just one turbine which needs serious maintenance work,” he said.
European governments were largely expecting Russia to not resume flows via Nord Stream once the three-day maintenance period on the pipeline ended on September 2. Most EU countries accuse Russia of weaponizing gas supply, looking to sink European economies and cause a lot of hardships to businesses and households ahead of and during the winter.
The indefinite halt of all supply via Nord Stream—which was already operating at just 20% capacity before the complete stop—sent European benchmark gas prices soaring on Monday morning. Europe's benchmark gas prices at the Dutch TTF hub surged by 30% at opening on Monday to $270 (272 euro) per megawatt-hour (MWh).
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com