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Russia said to Germany it was resuming gas flows to Europe. Despite a 10-day shutdown for maintenance, natural gas flowed through a key pipeline from Russia to Europe on Thursday. The gas flow stayed well short of full capacity, tentative perspective, with Europe yet confronting the possibility of a formidable winter.
The Nord Stream’s website data showed an increase of flow from zero to 29 billion kWh/h at 0600-0700 Thursday Central European Time. At around the same time last year, the flow was around 29 million kWh/h.
Flows are running at reduced volumes, but Russia’s aggression in Ukraine has squeezed supplies to the European region, so it is still a relief to European officials who have been contending to discover other suppliers than Russian gas.
Germany and the EU as a whole have long relied on Russian fossil fuels, and there has been a concerted effort to get them off the hook following Moscow’s aggression in Ukraine.
Since March, Europe has been haggling new gas agreements with Azerbaijan and the United States and has maintained discussions with Qatar and Israel.
On Wednesday, European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, said Russia was using energy as a weapon to blackmail Europe.
The officials believe that Russia will disrupt gas supplies further, and so the reduced supply “speaks a clear political language,” German Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck said.
Nord Stream 1 operator Gazprom said on June 16 that 60 percent of the gas flowing through the pipeline was diverted to other installations because of technical problems with Siemens’ equipment in Canada.
The German government rejected Gazprom’s technological justification for the decreasing gas supply, insisting that the turbine was a replacement be installed until September.
Europe is scrambling to fill gas storage before winter when demand for gas and electricity will go up.
The government intends to ban the heating of private pools with gas. It wants to encourage energy conservation in public offices and buildings, hoping that people will not frequent those locations frequently. In some private housing contracts, tenants must heat rooms to an exact temperature.
The EU wants member states to cut gas usage by 15% until March to save energy, although gas flow was restarted.
Von der Leyen said that she believes that Russia will proceed with a complete gas supply cutoff to Europe.
Economist Timothy Ash of BlueBay Asset Management said:
As if Nord Stream 1 returning to 30% today is interpreted as a sign of Putin reassuring European gas supply.
Ash added about believing that Putin likes energy and emergency in Europe this winter as it provides him power.
To save energy, companies must immediately recommend economical ways to reduce usage, systematize blocked holidays, and encourage remote work.
Written by Janet Grace Ortigas
CNBC: Russia resumes gas flows to Europe after fears of a total shutdown; by Silvia Amaro
Los Angeles Times: Gas starts flowing from Russia to Europe again after break, but shutoff fears remain; by GEIR MOULSON
The Washington Post: Russia resumes gas flows to Germany after Nord Stream maintenance; by Loveday Morris and Vanessa Guinan-Bank