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Germany not convinced the reasons for gas supply reduction are exclusively technical

The turbine moved to its destination

Repaired machine for Nord Stream sent to Germany

According to Kommersant, on July 17, a Siemens Energy turbine for the Portovaya compressor station of the Nord Stream gas pipeline was sent from a repair plant in Canada by plane to Germany. After that, the car will get to Russia for another five to seven days, if there are no problems with logistics and customs. Gazprom, meanwhile, has not yet confirmed that it will increase pumping along Nord Stream as soon as it receives a repaired turbine. The company expects a written guarantee from Siemens that it will be able to safely transport and repair other machines.

Drawing: Victor Chumachev, Kommersant

Рисунок: Виктор Чумачев, Коммерсантъ

Canada on July 17 sent to Germany a repaired Siemens Energy gas turbine used to supply gas through the Nord Stream gas pipeline from Russia to Germany, kommersant sources familiar with the situation say. The car is delivered to Germany by plane, and not by water, as originally planned, which should speed up the arrival.

Further, the turbine will be transported by ferry and overland through Helsinki to Russia (the Portovaya compressor station is located near the village of Torfyanovka, Leningrad Region, about 20 km from the border with Finland). The fifth package of EU sanctions does not contain a ban on the supply of gas turbines to the Russian Federation, so there should be no difficulties with its export. But there may be delays in the passage of customs procedures. The equipment will arrive in Russia approximately on July 24, and commissioning will take another three to four days.

Thus, taking into account the necessary time to install the turbine at the Portovaya compressor station, the gas pumping unit should be ready to pump gas into Nord Stream in early August.

Siemens Energy and Gazprom declined to comment on the timing of the delivery of the turbine.

On June 16, Gazprom reduced the level of supplies through the Nord Stream pipeline to 40% of the nominal capacity (67 million cubic meters per day), citing problems with the repair and delivery of Portovaya gas turbines. At that time, one turbine could not be removed from Montreal, where they are being repaired, since the Canadian authorities imposed sanctions against Gazprom and banned the return of equipment to the Russian Federation.

After negotiations with the German authorities, Canada still agreed to release the Gazprom turbine from the country and issue a license until December 31, 2024 for the repair, maintenance and transportation of five more Gazprom turbines (see Kommersant of July 13).

Nord Stream is the main route of Russian gas supplies to Europe that remained after the outbreak of hostilities in Ukraine. Transit through Poland has been stopped, as Russia has banned the use of the Polish section of the Yamal-Europe gas pipeline in response to Polish sanctions against Gazprom. Gas through Ukraine is transported only through the Sudzha entry point in the amount of no more than 42 million cubic meters per day, which is approximately 38% of the capacity of the Ukrainian gas transmission system booked by Gazprom.

Nord Stream from July 11 to July 21 was completely stopped for scheduled repairs. At the same time, Gazprom did not increase pumping through Ukraine by a comparable amount.

The shortage of gas in the European market has become more severe, and Germany, the largest buyer of Russian gas, was forced to raise gas from storage facilities in the middle of the summer.

Shell CEO Ben van Beurden warned on July 15 that the authorities of EU states may have to introduce gas consumption rationing this winter. According to the German network regulator, as of July 17, the country’s storage facilities are filled by 65%.

At the moment, it is unclear how much pumping along Nord Stream will increase after receiving the repaired turbine. Gazprom explained that they are waiting for Siemens to document the possibility of returning the repaired turbines for Nord Stream to Russia, as well as further fulfillment of obligations for their repair and maintenance. The company noted that it expects “the unconditional fulfillment by the Siemens group of companies of its obligations in the framework of servicing gas turbine engines, on which the reliable operation of the Nord Stream gas pipeline and the provision of natural gas to European consumers depend.”

The German authorities have repeatedly stated that they do not rule out a complete suspension of Russian gas supplies, since they do not believe that the reasons for the decrease in pumping along the Nord Stream are exclusively technical.

Tatyana Dyatel

The turbine moved to its destination – Newspaper Kommersant No 127 (7328) of 18.07.2022