The Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline will not restart tomorrow after maintenance work has been completed. An oil leak has been discovered, which means that no gas will flow through the pipeline to Europe, says the Russian state group Gazprom. The European Commission believes that Gazprom is blocking gas supplies under “false pretexts”. However, not restarting Nord Stream 1 for the time being would have no impact on the supply of Belgium, according to the cabinet of Energy Minister Tinne Van der Straeten (Groen).
The situation is being monitored closely, the government said. There is no impact on the Belgian gas supply. “The gas stock in Loenhout will be 90 percent full in a few days. That’s ahead of schedule. Belgium will continue to transport maximum gas to Germany and the Netherlands in particular,” Van der Straeten said.
Also at Fluxys it sounds that there is no direct impact. After all, no natural gas has been imported from Germany to our country for months. Norway is our main supply country for natural gas. An undersea gas pipeline – Zeepipe – connects Zeebrugge with the Norwegian gas fields. We also import LNG via the ports of Zeebrugge and Dunkirk.
Gas traders expect that the failure of Nord Stream I will lead to a new price increase on Monday, without however reaching new records.
The oil leak was discovered at the Portovaja compressor station, according to the Russians. The pipeline will remain stationary until the problem is repaired, it is said. Earlier in the day, it appeared that gas deliveries would resume on Saturday at 20 percent of normal capacity, the same level as before the works.
The gas supply was shut down for three days on Wednesday. That was necessary, according to the Russian gas company Gazprom, for checks at the only working turbine that helps to pump gas into the pipeline. According to Gazprom, the turbine must undergo technical maintenance every 1,000 hours. That’s about every 42 days. The next maintenance would therefore take place in mid-October.
In Europe, however, there is skepticism about this explanation and the prevailing view that Russia uses the gas supply as a political leverage. The European Union has imposed numerous sanctions against Russia over the war in Ukraine, and this would be in retaliation. Gas prices in Europe rose to record highs after the first announcement of the unscheduled maintenance, but have fallen slightly again recently.
“Gazprom’s announcement Friday afternoon that it is once again shutting down Nord Stream 1 under false pretenses is yet another confirmation that it is untrustworthy as a supplier,” tweeted spokesman Eric Mamer. “It is also a testament to the cynicism of Russia, which prefers to burn gas rather than fulfill contracts.”
Gas prices in Europe rose to record highs after the first announcement of the unscheduled maintenance, but have fallen by almost 40 percent since Monday to 212 euros per megawatt hour.
Germany better prepared, no impact for Belgium
German gas network chief Klaus Müller reacted Friday evening to Gazprom’s decision that LNG terminals, supplies and significant savings will become even more important. “It’s good that Germany is now better prepared, but now it depends on everyone,” he wrote on Twitter. Germany now gets most of its natural gas from Norway, the Netherlands and Belgium; On Thursday, some 2,900 gigawatt hours of natural gas flowed from those countries to Germany.
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