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Russia Blames Western Sanctions For Lower Gas Supply To Europe

Russia’s reduced gas flows via Nord Stream to Europe are the result of the EU sanctions that have created “technical difficulties” in repairs of equipment for the pipeline, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday.

“The President said in Tehran yesterday that Gazprom fulfilled, is fulfilling, and will fulfill its obligations to customers,” Peskov told reporters in Moscow on Thursday, as quoted by the Russian news agency Interfax.

Any technical difficulties connected with Gazprom’s obligations to customers are the result of the restrictions imposed by the European Union, Peskov added.

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“It is these restrictions that hamper repairs on equipment,” the Kremlin’s spokesman said, noting that some turbines at the compressor stations cannot receive the necessary service.

Peskov was speaking on Thursday just as Russia was restarting the gas flows via Nord Stream after a 10-day hiatus due to regular maintenance of the major gas pipeline from Russia to Germany. Orders for gas will resume at around 40% of Nord Stream’s capacity, the level from before the maintenance after Russia slashed flows in the middle of June. Nominations for gas flows via Nord Stream were at around 30% of the pipeline’s capacity on Thursday, Klaus Müller, the president of Germany’s Federal Network Agency, Bundesnetzagentur, said early today.  

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Russia claims that Nord Stream can now only operate at 40% capacity because of delays in the return of the turbine that was repaired by Siemens at a Canadian facility. Those delays were due to the sanctions the West has placed on Russia, Moscow says.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that Gazprom could cut natural gas flows to Europe via Nord Stream even more due to slow progress with the maintenance of the gas turbines at compressor stations. Another gas turbine is scheduled to be sent for maintenance on July 26, Putin said on Wednesday.  

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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