Gas Pipeline Between Russia and Germany Resumes Operations
The operators of Nord Stream, the twin gas pipelines that bring gas from Russia to Europe via the Baltic Sea, have announced that maintenance work on the pipelines has now been completed and gas transmission has resumed.
In a statement in early July, the operators said that they would temporarily shut down both lines of its gas pipeline system for routine maintenance works, inclusive testing of mechanical elements and automation systems for ensuring reliable, safe, and efficient pipeline operations. The closure was scheduled from July 11th to July 21st.
The move proved to be controversial with President Putin blaming western sanctions for slowing the delivery of a turbine needed to operate the pipeline, following maintenance operations in Canada.
Prior to the 10-day closure of the pipeline, capacity had been cut to 40% with fears in Europe that the pipeline would not be reopened. According to Reuters, Nord Stream figures show capacity is back to 40% as of today.
The cut in capacity comes as the EU yesterday proposed a 15% cut in European gas use until next Spring.
The EU Commission is proposing a new Council Regulation on Coordinated Demand Reduction Measures for Gas. The new Regulation would set a target for all Member States to reduce gas demand by 15% between 1 August 2022 and 31 March 2023. The new Regulation would also give the Commission the possibility to declare, after consulting Member States, a ‘Union Alert’ on security of supply, imposing a mandatory gas demand reduction on all Member States.
The Union Alert can be triggered when there is a substantial risk of a severe gas shortage or an exceptionally high gas demand. Member States should update their national emergency plans by the end of September to show how they intend to meet the reduction target, and should report to the Commission on progress every two months. Member States requesting solidarity gas supplies will be required to demonstrate the measures they have taken to reduce demand domestically.
To help Member States deliver the necessary demand reductions, the Commission has adopted a European Gas Demand Reduction Plan which sets out measures for coordinated demand reduction. The Plan focuses on substitution of gas with other fuels, and overall energy savings in all sectors. It aims to safeguard supply to households and essential users like hospitals, but also industries that are decisive for the provision of essential products and services to the economy, and for EU supply chains and competitiveness.