Gazprom Sharply Cuts Gas Supplies to Europe via Nord Stream

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Gazprom has significantly reduced gas supplies to Germany through the Nord Stream pipeline. The Czech Republic and Austria also reported reduced supplies from Russia. Russia’s Gazprom has sharply reduced gas supplies to Germany via its Nord Stream pipeline. As of 06:00 a.m. (07:00 Moscow time) Thursday, June 16, the hourly pumping volume was about 2.6 mln cubic meters (29 mln kilowatt-hours). From 08:00 to 09:00 a.m. (09:00-10:00 Moscow time) it reached 2.7 mln cubic meters (30 mln kilowatt-hours), according to the monitoring system. The daily volume calculations based on these data show the upper threshold of 64.8 mln cubic meters. Previously, on June 14, Gazprom said it would reduce supplies to Germany by more than 40 percent. It was supposed to be only 100 mln cubic meters per day, instead of the usual 167 mln cubic meters. The reason was said to be a delay with repairs of equipment that had reached the end of its service life, which is handled by the German concern Siemens. It was later announced that the daily capacity would drop to 67 mln cubic meters starting June 16. Gazprom explained this by “stopping the operation of another Siemens gas turbine engine” at the Portovaia compressor station. Decrease of raw materials volumes from Russia was reported in the Czech Republic and Austria Meanwhile, following Germany, the Czech Republic and Austria also reported on the reduced volumes of gas from Russia. A spokesperson for the Czech energy conglomerate CEZ said the restrictions were due to technical problems. In turn, an employee of the Austrian oil and gas company OMV said Gazprom informed about the new supply situation. “If necessary at all, given the lower gas demand, these volumes can be replaced by storage volumes and volumes from the spot market,” OMV said. At present, “supplies to our customers are ensured,” they added. Sanctions and the gas conflict Following the outbreak of Russia’s war against Ukraine and introduction of Western sanctions in this regard, Russian President Vladimir Putin instructed that Gazprom should receive payments for pipeline gas from “unfriendly” countries only in rubles. Foreign companies were required to open two accounts at Gazprombank, a foreign currency account and a ruble account. The gas buyer must transfer foreign currency to the foreign currency account, and then Gazprombank sells the currency on the Moscow Exchange and transfers the proceeds to the ruble account. In late April, Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, said that “payments in rubles are a breach of sanctions”, unless provided for in contracts. The EU also considers the scheme of opening two accounts in Gazprombank to be inconsistent with the sanctions against Russia. The Russian gas monopoly said on May 30 that it would stop supplying gas to the British-Dutch company Shell Energy and the Danish company Orsted from June 1 in connection with its refusal to pay for gas in rubles under the new scheme. The termination of supplies to the Netherlands was also reported. Earlier, Russia unilaterally terminated gas supplies to Poland, Bulgaria and Finland. DW