Kremlin: Nord Stream 1 turbine not arrived yet, a second has defects

MOSCOW (Reuters) – The Kremlin said on Tuesday that a repaired gas turbine for Nord Stream 1, Russia’s biggest gas pipeline to Europe, had not yet arrived after maintenance in Canada and that a second turbine was showing defects.

The European Union has repeatedly accused Russia of resorting to energy blackmail but the Kremlin says the shortfalls have been caused by maintenance issues and the impact of Western sanctions.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the sanctions against Russia had critically complicated the work of Nord Stream 1, which is reducing gas supplies to Europe to just 20% of its capacity amid maintenance.

Kremlin-owned pipeline gas exporting monopoly Gazprom has said flows would fall to 33 million cubic metres per day from Wednesday – a halving of the current, already reduced level – because it needed to halt the operation of a gas turbine at a compressor station on instructions from an industry watchdog.

Gazprom expects a turbine, serviced by Siemens Energy, to arrive from Canada after maintenance.

“Yes, indeed, there are some defects with the turbines. The turbine has not arrived after a major maintenance, it’s on its way. We hope that it will happen… sooner rather than later,” Peskov said.

He added that another turbine has also some defects.

“The situation is critically complicated by the restrictions and sanctions, which had been imposed against our country,” Peskov said, adding that Nord Stream 1 would have worked normally without the sanctions.

‘COLD IS COMING’

Russia has repeatedly cautioned that European customers will face serious price rises if the European Union go ahead with plans to reduce reliance on Russia’s vast energy resources.

Russia is the world’s second largest oil exporter after Saudi Arabia and the world’s largest exporter of natural gas. Europe imports about 40% its gas and 30% of its oil from Russia, a point keenly emphasised by some Russian officials.

“The cold is coming soon,” former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who is deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, said on Telegram.

“Nobody has cancelled winter, and alternative supplies of gas, oil and coal are expensive or simply unrealistic,” said Medvedev, who once served as chairman of Gazprom’s board.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, speaking during a visit to Uganda, said that Moscow had still not received a proper explanation about the status of the turbine from the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline that was serviced by Siemens Energy in Canada.

Gazprom said on Monday it had received documentation on the turbine but some issues and risks remained.

The German company has said it saw no link between the turbine issue and the gas cuts implemented or announced by Gazprom.

Lavrov also said on Tuesday that Gazprom had to switch off another turbine at the Portovaya compressor station of Nord Stream 1 due to security reasons.

(Reporting by Reuters; editing by Guy Faulconbridge and Susan Fenton)

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