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Trudeau: Decision To Return Russian Gas Turbine Was “Very Difficult”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that the sanctions exception it made to return Russia's repaired gas turbine was a "very difficult" decision to make, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

Canada said over the weekend that it had provided a "time-limited and revocable permit" to return the turbine to Gazprom for a Nord Stream 1 compressor station. The gas turbine was being repaired by Germany's Siemens.

The gas turbine is a critical component for getting Gazprom's Nord Stream 1 pipeline back up and running. Without it, Gazprom said it could not guarantee the safe operation of the pipeline. What's more, Gazprom said that it "does not have a single document that allows Siemens to bring back a gas turbine engine from Canada… for the Portovaya (station)," the Russian energy company said on Wednesday.

Ukraine expressed its displeasure at Canada's decision to return the turbine in violation of the sanctions, urging the country to reverse its decision that it likened to changing the sanctions to suit "the whims of Russia." 

"If countries do not follow decisions they have agreed about sanctions, how can we talk about solidarity?" a Ukrainian government source said last week.

Trudeau said that the sanctions were "aimed at Putin and his enablers and aren't designed to harm our allies and their populations."

Russia, for its part, sad that it would agree to increase its gas supplies to Europe if the turbine was returned.

In June, Gazprom began to reduce the gas flows via Nord Stream 1, blaming the reduction in flows on a missing turbine that had not yet been returned after undergoing maintenance by Siemens. At that time, Siemens said it was impossible to return the turbine due to current sanctions. On Wednesday, Siemens said it was still working on getting the remaining approvals and working out the logistics for the return of Gazprom's turbine.

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Gazprom's flows via Nord Stream 1 have been reduced to 40% of capacity at a time when Europe is trying to replenish its natural gas stockpiles ahead of winter.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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