Russia’s Gazprom PJSC said its key gas pipeline to Europe won’t reopen as planned, moving the region a step closer to blackouts, rationing and a severe recession. Following maintenance, the pipeline was expected to reopen on Saturday. But in a last-minute statement late on Friday, the company said a technical issue had been found and the pipe can’t operate again until it’s fixed.It’s a massive blow to Europe, which is scrambling to fill up its gas storage ahead of winter and which has been trying to second-guess Moscow’s next steps in the energy war for weeks. Moscow has its own policy makers in limbo as Europe struggles to find ways to weather the winter.
Continue reading: Europe’s Energy Crisis Is Going to Get Worse. The Cost will be borne by the entire worldGazprom stated that oil leakage was found at a gas turbine used to pump the gas. There’s no indication how long fixing it may take. Similar oil leaks were previously detected at some other turbines, which are out of action now, and “complete elimination of oil leakage on these turbines is possible only in the conditions of a specialized repair company,” Gazprom said.It marks a dramatic escalation in Europe’s energy crisis—and comes just as prices were easing. If the shutdown persists, it puts households, factories and economies at risk, weakening Europe’s hand as it backs Ukraine in the war against Russia.The Kremlin has already drastically reduced gas deliveries over the course of several months. Kremlin sources claim Moscow uses the cuts in gas supplies to increase political pressure on European leaders to make them reconsider their support of Kyiv.
German Economy Minister Robert Habeck said this week the country can’t rely on Russia for gas at all, and the government was already bracing for further halts in flow for more maintenance.
Nord Stream’s route from the Baltic Sea under Germany to Nord Stream would mean that only two routes could supply gas to Europe: TurkStream through Ukraine or TurkStream through Black Sea. TurkStream, which runs to the southern part of Europe, is still operating normally despite flow restrictions through Ukraine.
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Europe was trying to plan for the Russian gas shortage by replenishing their reserves, procuring alternative sources such as the US liquefied gas and reining down demand.
Unprecedented interventions are also being considered by the EU in the energy market. These include price caps, power demand reduction, and windfall tax on profits. This week, prices fell.
In Germany, Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s coalition is discussing a relief package this weekend to help German consumers and businesses deal with soaring energy costs.
Despite efforts to contain the crisis, Europe remains exposed after decades building up a reliance on cheap Russian gas, which last year covered about 40% of the the EU’s needs for the fuel. About half of the EU’s member states have been affected by the lower flows.
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