Germany And Europe Worry Russian Gas Might Be Cut Off For Good
EUROPE - Russian gas to Germany from the Nord Stream 1 pipeline has been completely stopped for the next 10 days of scheduled repairs. Shipments from the pipeline to Europe are due to stop today. The West fears the gas flow may never come back.
German Economy Minister Robert Habeck has warned European countries that they need to be prepared for gas shipments being permanently stopped and accused the Kremlin of using gas "as a weapon" due to the sanctions put upon Russia by the European Union.
He also openly admitted that Germany has become far too dependent upon Russia to supply its gas needs, and said that it was "a grave political mistake as we can see today, which we are trying to remedy as quickly as we possibly can".
Two floating terminals that will be used to deliver liquefied natural gas (LN) will be available by the end of the year, he stated.
Russian state gas giant Gazprom had limited the gas flow of the Nord Stream 1 to just 40% of its original capacity by the middle of June, blaming the limit on a delay of equipment being repaired and returned by the German company Siemens, which in turn blamed delays on sanctions.
The Canadian government, which currently possesses the equipment said that they will be granting Siemens a "time-limited and revocable permit" that will allow the turbines that were repaired to be sent back to Germany.
The move has caused an outcry of anger from the Ukrainian government, however, which has said that Canada is modifying the sanctions that were placed on Moscow "to the whims of Russia".
Although maintenance on pipelines is normal, Germany's government is worried that this is a ploy by Russia to cut off the flow of gas permanently, and may not have the intention of turning the flow back on at all.
Thus far, Russia has also permanently cut off the gas flow to the Netherlands, Denmark, Bulgaria, Poland, and Finland due to the fact that they refused to comply with Russia's demand to make payments in Russian rubles.
A complete and permanent cut-off of gas from Russia to Germany would create a nationwide recession for the country, according to leading energy market analyst, Henning Gloystein of Eurasia Group, who spoke to BBC News.
Gloystein told BBC that "if Nord Stream 1 doesn't come back on at all, let's say by early August, we think that the German government will have to raise its gas alert level to the third level, which is the maximum level".
"That would be suspending the wholesale gas market and the government and regulator stepping in as the distributor of natural gas. So that will effectively mean rationing next winter. What happens in Germany, sadly, will spread over to the rest of Europe if it gets worse, because of the geographical location in the middle of the EU" he added in his statement to BBC.