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Germany Forced To Tap Gas Storage As Russia Halts Nord Stream Operations

Germany withdrew on Tuesday more natural gas from storage than the gas volume injected into storage sites for the first time since April, Russian news agency TASS reported on Thursday, citing data from Gas Infrastructure Europe (GIE).

The first German net withdrawal of gas since April occurred as Russia halted on Monday all gas deliveries via Nord Stream with the start of the two-week annual maintenance of the pipeline carrying gas from Russia to Germany.

A month before the maintenance on Nord Stream began, Russia had already slashed gas supply to Germany, Italy, and Austria, blaming Western sanctions on issues with a turbine being repaired in Canada and unable to be returned to Russia because of the sanctions. Canada this week waived the specific sanctioning action to allow the return of the turbine to Gazprom for a Nord Stream compressor station. The gas turbine was being repaired by Germany’s Siemens.

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Belgium also withdrew more gas on Tuesday than injections to storage because of an incident at the Sleipner gas field offshore Norway, which impacted supply to the Zeebrugge gas receiving terminal in Belgium, Russia’s agency TASS reports.

Europe is racing against time to fill its gas storage sites to at least 80% by November 1, per the new EU recommendations for energy security after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

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As of July 13, gas storage in the EU was 62.6% full, according to data from Gas Infrastructure Europe. Germany’s storage sites were 64.53% full. 

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Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, and other EU member states are not ruling out the possibility that Russia may not resume gas flows via Nord Stream once the maintenance period is over, or it could cut supplies further.

Russian gas supply cuts could lead to widespread industrial collapse, German Federation of Trade Unions head Yasmin Fahimi said earlier this month.

“Entire industries are in danger of collapsing permanently because of the gas bottlenecks: aluminum, glass, the chemical industry,” Fahimi said last week.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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