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Russia Appears Ready To Restart Nord Stream 1

Contrary to fears expressed publicly by European politicians, the flow of natural gas via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline looks set to restart today after a three-day unscheduled maintenance that Gazprom announced last month.

European leaders voiced the same fears in July, when Nord Stream 1 was shut down for its annual planned maintenance. The resumption of flows now will be at the same level as before the temporary shutdown, at 20 percent of capacity.

In a report from earlier today, Bloomberg cited grid data as suggesting the flow of gas will restart tomorrow. However, Nord Stream would need more frequent maintenance in the coming months as it only has one functioning turbine at the entry point to Germany. According to Gazprom the turbine needs to undergo maintenance every 1,000 hours, which is once every 42 days.

Earlier this year, another Nord Stream 1 turbine rose to notoriety after it got stuck in Canada because the local government had just introduced new sanctions on Russia preventing it from returning the piece of equipment after repairs.

The turbine was eventually shipped to Germany and Siemens Energy, which is in charge of the maintenance. It got stuck there again and is still stuck while Siemens Energy and Gazprom argue over the necessary documentation that would see the turbine go home.

Europe has stepped up its imports of U.S. LNG and LNG from anywhere else to replace Russian flows, even before Nord Stream 1 was reduced to 20 percent of capacity but it seems those wouldn’t be enough to last the winter so European governments are urging consumption cuts.

Last month, the EU approved a bloc-wide 15-percent gas consumption reduction plan, which is voluntary but if the cuts do not materialize could become obligatory. Energy rations are also a possibility in many European countries, especially if the winter is harsh.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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