The Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline operating between Germany and Russia was shut down indefinitely due to an oil leak, hours before the gas supply was expected to resume. The indefinite closure means no gas will flow through the pipeline from Russia to Europe.
The pipeline was shut down for three days of maintenance on Wednesday, which was already met with scepticism in Europe. The announcement that the pipeline will remain closed means even more trouble for European gas prices.
The oil spill was found close to the Finnish border, where gas is put under high pressure so that it can flow through the pipeline through the Baltic Sea to Germany. The pipeline will remain stationary until the problem is repaired.
In a statement on Telegram, Gazprom said representatives of Germany's Siemens have also endorsed a report on the oil spill. Technicians should only be able to carry out repairs in a specialized workshop.
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The Russian state-owned company says it cannot fix the leak due to a lack of parts covered by international sanctions against Russia. Gazprom posted a photo of cables with brownish liquid around them on its Telegram channel to illustrate the alleged problem.
The European Commission believes that Gazprom is blocking gas supplies under “false pretexts”, spokesperson Eric Mamer said on Twitter. There is the prevailing view that Russia uses the gas supply as political leverage, as the European Union has imposed numerous sanctions against Russia over the war in Ukraine, and this would be in retaliation.
Manufacturer disagrees with closure
According to German turbine manufacturer Siemens, an oil leak in a pumping system does not have to be a reason to close the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline.
Siemens Energy stated that “an oil leak does not affect the operation of a turbine”. In addition, any repair can be carried out on-site and “routinely”. According to the German manufacturer, there are enough other turbines available in the Russian compressor station.