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Russia Claims Sanctions Are Preventing Gas Supply To Europe

Only technological problems caused by the sanctions prevent gas flows to Europe from Russia, which remains “a dependable supplier of gas,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying on Tuesday, a day before Gazprom is set to halt all flows via Nord Stream to Germany for three days.

Russia’s gas giant Gazprom said on August 19 that it would halt all deliveries via Nord Stream to Germany for three days between August 31 and September 2. This announcement raised renewed concerns in Europe that supply via the pipeline could be further cut or halted altogether after the three-day maintenance at the end of August.

Currently, Nord Stream is operating at just 20% of capacity as Russia says Western sanctions prevent it from obtaining gas turbines sent for repair to Western countries. Most EU member states accuse Russia of weaponizing gas deliveries and looking to sink European economies in the winter. 

Speaking to reporters in Russia on Tuesday, Kremlin spokesman Peskov said that “There are guarantees that nothing but technological problems caused by sanction is hindering the supplies,” in response to a question about whether there were guarantees that Russia would resume gas flows via the pipeline after the three-day maintenance period ends. 

“Russia has been and remains ready to honor all of its commitments,” Russian news agency Interfax quoted Peskov as saying today.

Also today, however, French utility giant Engie said its gas supply from Gazprom would be reduced due to a dispute regarding its supply contract with the Russian firm. 

“Engie had already secured the volumes necessary to meet its commitments towards its customers and its own requirements, and put in place several measures to significantly reduce any direct financial and physical impacts that could result from an interruption to gas supplies by Gazprom,” the French firm said in a statement carried by Reuters.  

France’s Energy Transition Minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher accused Russia of weaponizing gas. 

“Very clearly Russia is using gas as a weapon of war and we must prepare for the worst case scenario of a complete interruption of supplies,” the minister told a local radio station. 

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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