Russian state-run energy giant Gazprom reduced natural gas exports headed for Europe by a significant margin Thursday, sending regional energy prices higher.
Gazprom cut gas flows through the key Nord Stream 1 pipeline to just 40% of its capacity, the second cut the company has announced this week, Reuters reported. Both the Kremlin and Gazprom blamed Western sanctions targeting the Russian economy, saying they prevented equipment related to the pipeline’s operations from being delivered.
“We know that there are issues with turbines, with their maintenance — a turbine is not being returned and was blocked somewhere,” Russian government press secretary Dmitry Peskov told reporters Thursday, according to Reuters. “This is a consequence of sanctions, there is nothing intentional there.”
“This issue has nothing to do with us,” he continued.
Gazprom said the equipment in question, aero derivative gas turbines, was undergoing maintenance in Montreal, Canada, Reuters reported. The turbines’ manufacturer Siemens Energy confirmed the equipment couldn’t be returned to Russia.
The German economic minister, though, accused Gazprom of slashing flows to sow uncertainty and cause higher prices, according to Reuters. European natural gas prices, which have already hit record highs in recent months, soared 25% on Thursday morning following the reduction in flows.
Nord Stream 1 is projected to provide about 12% of the European Union’s total natural gas imports by 2035 and serves consumers in several countries including Germany, the U.K. and France, according to a Gazprom fact sheet.
Russia is by far the EU’s largest natural gas supplier, sending about 155 billion cubic meters to the continent in 2021, most of which was sent via pipeline, according to the Columbia Climate School. Russian natural gas exports account for about 45% of EU natural gas imports.
Germany announced in February that it wouldn’t approve a permit for the proposed Nord Stream 2 pipeline after Russia invaded Ukraine.
Gazprom and Siemens Energy didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment from The Daily Caller News Foundation.
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