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Russia's Gazprom has sharply increased pressure along the pipeline that carries natural gas vial Ukraine to Europe, the Ukrainian pipeline operator has warned.
Reuters noted in a report on the news that such sudden spikes in pressure could lead to pipeline ruptures, which is why companies involved in gas transportation need to inform each other of such plans beforehand. Gazprom, according to the Ukrainian company, did not do so.
Despite the war in Ukraine, Russian gas flows through the country have remained more or less steady, with the Monday rate at 41.7 million cubic meters. Flows via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, however, were just cut again earlier this week.
Gazprom said Monday that it would halt a turbine at the main Nord Stream 1 compressor station, which would result in lower gas flows beginning Wednesday.
According to the company, the drop would be some 50 percent from current rates, which in turn stand at about 40 percent of the pipeline's capacity. This means that after the halt of the second turbine, flows via Nord Stream 1 would fall to just 20 percent of capacity, or some 33 million cubic meters daily.
Flows via the key pipeline to Germany were reduced to 40 percent earlier this month amid what is turning into a veritable saga involving a Gazprom compressor station turbine, Canadian sanctions, and a desperate Germany.
The turbine, sent to Canada for repairs by Germany's Siemens Energy, which services Gazprom's equipment, was stuck in the country due to new Canadian sanctions on Russia. Russia said it would be unable to restore normal flows along Nord Stream 1 without the turbine.
After Germany pleaded with the Canadian government to release the turbine—while the Ukrainian government insisted it holds on to it—Canada released the piece of equipment by urgently approving a sanction exemption.
The turbine has yet to reach its home, however.
"Gazprom received from Siemens documents issued by the Canadian authorities. However, after studying the documents, Gazprom had to conclude that they do not eliminate the previously identified risks and give rise to additional questions," the Russian state company said this month, adding "the issues regarding the sanctions imposed by the EU and the UK remain unsolved for Gazprom."
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.