the reasons for the showdown between Russia and Europe – Liberation


War between Ukraine and Russiadossier
The Kremlin invoked a broken turbine on Friday to completely suspend the delivery of gas to Europe through the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline, an argument rejected by the manufacturer of the turbine, the German Siemens. Gazprom claims to maintain deliveries via Ukraine as Europe resists the cut.

The stop continues. Gazprom announced on Friday that the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline, crucial for deliveries in Europe, will be “completely” stopped until the repair of a turbine, when it was to resume service on Saturday after a maintenance operation. In a press release, the Russian giant indicates that it has discovered “oil leaks” in the turbine during this maintenance operation: “Until repair […] the transport of gas via Nord Stream is completely suspended.”

These problems would have been diagnosed during a technical inspection carried out with representatives of the German group Siemens, which manufactured the turbine. The Russian group reports a “oil leak” on the “cables connected to speedometers of a rotor”. On Telegram, Gazprom posted a photo showing cables surrounded by a brownish liquid. A version contradicted by Siemens Energy in the evening: “As a turbine manufacturer, we can affirm that such a finding does not constitute a technical reason to stop operations,” said the German giant in a press release, specifying that in the past the appearance “of this type of leak did not lead to the cessation of operations”.

Playing hot and cold, Gazprom then declared that it would deliver this Saturday 42.7 million cubic meters of gas to Europe using another pipeline that crosses Ukraine. The throughput at the Sudja entry point, on the Russian-Ukrainian border, was slightly above its level on Friday but it was still very insufficient to compensate for the volumes that should have been debited by Nord Stream 1.

Imbroglio around a turbine

Russia was to resume its gas deliveries via Nord Stream 1 on Saturday, after a new three-day interruption that has strained the nerves of Europeans, engaged in a race against time to avoid an energy crisis this winter. Earlier in the day on Friday, the Kremlin initially claimed that the operation of the Nord Stream gas pipeline was “threatens” by a shortage of spare parts due to sanctions against Moscow for its offensive in Ukraine.

One way to react to the decision announced Friday by the G7 countries to target Russia’s energy windfall by agreeing to cap the price of its oil. And also to the statements in the wake of the President of the European Commission. Ursula von der Leyen considering that it “would be time” to put a cap on the price of gas imported by gas pipeline from Russia, thus supporting a measure advocated by Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi.

“We are in favor of the principle of a cap”, declared this Saturday the French Minister of Economy Bruno Le Maire. Proof that Europe hears “to resist Russia’s extreme use of the gas weapon” in the words of the European Commissioner for the Economy Paolo Gentiloni who specified that the European storage of gas “is currently at around 80%” although levels vary by country.

Since the start of the Kremlin’s military intervention in Ukraine at the end of February, Moscow has sharply reduced its gas deliveries to Europeans, in reaction to massive Western sanctions. The Europeans, very dependent on Russian gas, accuse the Kremlin of using it as a means of pressure, which Moscow refutes, which evokes technical problems caused by the sanctions or late payments.

In particular, Russia claims that the sanctions prevent the return of a Siemens turbine that had been sent to Canada for repair. Germany, where the turbine is located, ensures on the contrary that it is Moscow which is blocking the return of this key piece.

Update on Saturday, September 3 at 9 a.m. with the press release from Siemens. And at 11 a.m. with announcements from Gazprom. Then at 5 p.m. with statements by Bruno Le Maire


Source: Libération by www.liberation.fr.

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