Putin Says Nord Stream Will Restart, With Conditions

Putin Says Nord Stream Will Restart, With Conditions
Russian President Vladimir Putin signaled that Europe would start getting gas again through a key pipeline but warned that unless a spat over sanctioned parts is resolved, flows will be tightly curbed.

One turbine got stranded in Canada -- where it was being repaired -- due to Ottawa’s sanctions against Moscow. Canada released the component to Germany, following calls from Berlin, and other turbines can now go for similar work. But there’s no clarity on when this might happen, and no details on the remaining two turbines or their condition.

Gas flows through Nord Stream were running at about 40% of capacity prior to pipeline maintenance, due to the technical issues related to the turbines, according to Gazprom. A company executive said force majeure warnings issued earlier this week reflected the reality that Gazprom can’t fully meet its obligations to European clients due to the turbine situation.

Germany and Italy, both key buyers, have previously called the drop in flows a political move, a claim that Russia has shrugged off.

Rift Remains

German officials plan to wait until at least Monday to take stock of any potential cut in shipments. Even if flows return at reduced rates, the rift between Russia and the EU over energy supplies remains.

Gazprom, flush with cash due to high gas prices in Europe, is planning for the possibility that tensions spike further, according to a person close to the company’s management.

Further delays in resuming supplies or even a temporary interruption is possible as pressure tactics in the coming months, before colder temperatures raise the stakes later in the year, according to a separate person close to the company.

“In order for Russia to continue to have geopolitical leverage they need the gas to flow, in order to have the threat of shutting it off,” said Nick Campbell, a director at consultant Inspired Plc.


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