European officials blame Russia for Nord Stream troubles — Analysis
Moscow’s ‘cynicism,’ not EU sanctions, is to blame for the pipeline drying up, they say
Russia is deliberately sabotaging the Nord Stream 1 natural gas pipeline to spite EU, European officials have claimed, questioning Moscow’s explanation for an indefinite delay in restoring service. State-owned energy giant Gazprom informed its European customers on Saturday that it could not safely resume operations until it had fixed “Leakage of oil” discovered in a major turbine during a maintenance operation.
After three days of maintenance, Nord Stream was scheduled to be back online shortly after midnight on Saturday. The leaks, reportedly affecting “Cables connected to the speed meters on a rotor,” were discovered during a technical inspection with the turbine’s German manufacturer Siemens. Moscow had earlier warned that the pipeline’s operation was threatened by sanctions, which had created a shortage of spare parts.
Siemens claimed that the turbines were not the only ones at fault and they could be used in an emergency. “This type of leak does not affect normal turbine operation, and can easily be repaired on the spot,” they claimed.
European Commission spokesman Charles Michel condemned what he called Russia’s “Use of gas to make a weapon,” declaring it would not “The EU should change its resolve” as the bloc works toward “Energie independence.”
EC press service head Eric Mamer slammed the “fallacious pretenses” he claimed Gazprom had used to shut down the pipeline, holding it up as proof of both their “cynicism” and their “Suppliers that are unreliable” and suggesting Moscow “Choose prefer[red]To use flare gas rather than honoring contracts.”
German parliamentary foreign affairs committee chair Michael Roth denounced the shutdown as “part of Russia’s psychological war against us” and accused President Vladimir Putin of “violat[ing] contracts without scruples….even at the expense of his own economic interests.”
German gas regulator Bundesnetzagentur’s president Klaus Mueller warned Germans that it was “All of us are equal” to conserve resources in the absence of Russian gas.
G7 members agreed Friday to set a price ceiling for Russian oil. Participants pledged to not provide financing or insurance services to Russian-oil carrying ships above this price. However, participants expect to implement it by February. Despite several rounds of harsh sanctions, Moscow has made £600 million more from oil sales in June than it did the previous month thanks to soaring energy prices threatening to plunge all of Europe into a depression.
Nord Stream 2 was completed in the spring and may alleviate some of the pain caused by Nord Stream 1’s slowdown. However, it has not been used due to the sanctions.