Russia scraps gas pipeline reopening, deepens Europe’s problems

Published September 3, 2022
Pipes at the landfall facilities of the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline are pictured in Lubmin, Germany on March 8, 2022. — Reuters/File
Pipes at the landfall facilities of the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline are pictured in Lubmin, Germany on March 8, 2022. — Reuters/File

FRANKFURT: Russia scrapped a Saturday deadline to resume flows via a major gas supply route to Europe after saying it had discovered a fault in the Nord Stream 1 pipeline during maintenance, deepening Europe’s difficulties in securing fuel for winter.

Nord Stream 1, which runs under the Baltic Sea to supply Germany and others, had been due to resume operating on Saturday at 0100 GMT after a three-day halt for maintenance.

But Gazprom, the state-controlled firm with a monopoly on Russian gas exports via pipeline, said on Friday it could not safely restart deliveries until it had fixed an oil leak found in a vital pipeline turbine. It did not give a new timeframe.

Moscow has blamed sanctions, imposed by the West after Russia invaded Ukraine, for hampering routine operations and maintenance of Nord Stream 1. Brussels says this is a pretext and Russia is using gas as an economic weapon to retaliate.

“This is part of Russia’s psychological war against us,” tweeted Michael Roth, chair of the German parliamentary foreign affairs committee.

Earlier, European Union Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said the bloc should impose a price cap on Russian pipeline gas to foil what she said were Russian President Vladimir Putin’s attempts to manipulate the market.

Wholesale gas prices have rocketed 400% since August 2021, hurting European industry and households, surging first due to recovering demand after the pandemic and then rising further because of the Ukraine crisis.

“We see that the electricity market does not work anymore because it is massively disrupted due to Putin’s manipulations,” Von der Leyen said, adding that a gas price cap on Russian pipeline supplies could be proposed at the European level.

Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Moscow would turn off supplies to Europe if Brussels imposed such a cap.

Published in Dawn, September 3rd, 2022

Opinion

Editorial

On a leash
Updated 22 Feb, 2024

On a leash

Shehbaz will not find it easy to introduce the much-needed major changes to the economy without running into resistance.
Shameful veto
22 Feb, 2024

Shameful veto

THE US has scored a hat-trick by vetoing, for the third time, a resolution in the UN Security Council calling for an...
Truth under threat
22 Feb, 2024

Truth under threat

AS WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange mounts a last-ditch effort against being extradited from the UK to the US, one...
Silencing the public
Updated 21 Feb, 2024

Silencing the public

Acting as if it is unaccountable, it is now curtailing citizens’ digital rights without even bothering to come up with a justification.
Fitch’s concern
Updated 21 Feb, 2024

Fitch’s concern

It warns that “near-term political uncertainty may complicate the country’s efforts to secure a financing agreement with the IMF to succeed the Stand-by Arrangement”.
Zoo zealotry
Updated 21 Feb, 2024

Zoo zealotry

IN a bizarre twist of faith and fur, the Indian right-wing Hindu nationalist group, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, has...