Russia cuts gas flows further as Europe urges energy saving

i24NEWS - Reuters

2 min read
View of the Pipeline Inspection Gauge receiving station, the Nord Stream 2 part of the landfall area, in Lubmin, northeastern Germany, on March 1, 2022.
John MACDOUGALL / AFPView of the Pipeline Inspection Gauge receiving station, the Nord Stream 2 part of the landfall area, in Lubmin, northeastern Germany, on March 1, 2022.

The Nord Stream 1 pipeline is now operating at a fifth of its total capacity

Russia delivered less gas to Europe on Wednesday, a further escalation of an energy stand-off between Moscow and the European Union.

Such cuts will make it harder and costlier for the bloc to fill up storage ahead of the winter heating season. 

The Nord Stream 1 pipeline - which accounts for around a third of all of Moscow's gas exports to the bloc - is now operating at a fifth of its total capacity. 

On Tuesday, EU countries approved a weakened emergency plan to curb gas demand after striking compromise deals to limit cuts for some countries, hoping lower consumption will ease the impact in case Moscow stops supplies altogether.

The plan highlights fears that countries will be unable to meet goals to refill storage and keep their citizens warm during the winter months, and that Europe's weak economic growth may take another hit if gas must be rationed.

Analysts from the Royal Bank of Canada said the plan could help Europe get through the winter, provided gas flows from Russia were at 20-50 percent capacity. However, they warned against "complacency in the market (now that) European politicians have now solved the issue of Russian gas dependence," according to Reuters.

While Moscow blames the delayed return of a serviced turbine and sanctions for the supply cuts, Brussels accused Russia of using energy as a weapon to blackmail the bloc and retaliate for Western sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine.

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