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Gazprom will stop all gas flows to Europe via the Nord Stream pipeline from August 31 until September 2, Russia's gas giant Gazprom announced on Friday.
The reason for the 3-day suspension of gas flows via the pipeline would be due to maintenance work at the Trent 60 gas compressor station, which would be carried out with Siemens.
The maintenance was not planned and is expected to escalate tensions between Russia and the EU, and squeeze Germany, already in the midst of an energy crisis, by restricting gas supplies even more.
Flows via Nord Stream have been reduced since mid-June after regularly scheduled maintenance continues to drag out over a gas turbine that was repaired by Siemens but never put back into operation.
Siemens claims that the work on the turbine has been complete for weeks, and that it has been waiting in Germany for Gazprom to supply the necessary customs documents for its return. Gazprom, however, has stated that Siemens has not provided it with the necessary documents that would allow the turbine to be returned despite sanctions. The feud—which has now spilled over into Twitter with the two sides battling about the turbine by posting playlists for the lonely turbine—would be comical if it weren't for the havoc the reduced gas shipments have had on Europe's gas prices.
Before the original turbine was sent off for repair, Germany warned that Russia may not resume the flow via Nord Stream when the repair work was complete—retaliation for the sanctions against Moscow.
"Based on the pattern we've seen, it would not be very surprising now if some small, technical detail is found and then they could say 'now we can't turn it on any more'," Germany said at the time. As it turns out, that "small, technical detail" is the hiccup in the return of the turbine.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
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Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.