Russian gas flows to the EU fall, except through the TurkStream
Russian gas supplies have plummeted on major routes, including via Ukraine and Belarus and via Nord Stream 1 which passes under the Baltic Sea. The only route spared is the one that carries the gas exclusively to Russia’s European allies, namely Serbia and Hungary.
Gazprom has not reserved gas transit capacity for exports through the Yamal-Europe pipeline for August, according to auction results Monday (July 18).
Russian gas accounts for around 40% of the European gas market, while the Yamal-Europe pipeline typically accounts for around 15% of Russia’s gas supply to Europe and Turkey.
The Yamal gas pipeline does not cross Ukraine, but Belarus, Poland and Germany.
Gazprom has also not reserved additional gas transit capacity through the Sudja crossing point in Ukraine for the month of August, nor through Veľké Kapušany on the border between Slovakia and Ukraine for the same period.
Ukraine has remained a key transit route for Russian gas bound for Europe, even after Moscow launched what it calls a “special military operation” in the country on February 24.
The transit point that Ukraine has closed usually handles around 8% of Russian gas flows to Europe, although European states have said they are still receiving supplies. The Ukrainian corridor mainly sends gas to Austria, Italy, Slovakia and other Eastern European states.
According to a letter seen by Reuters on Monday (July 18), Gazprom invoked force majeure to cut off gas deliveries in Europe to its biggest customer, Germany.
The letter states that Gazprom, which has a monopoly on Russian gas exports via pipeline, was unable to fulfill its supply obligations due to circumstances “extraordinary” independent of his will.
It indicated that the use of force majeure, a clause invoked when a company is struck by an event beyond its control, was valid for deliveries from June 14.
A trade source quoted by Reuters said the letter related to deliveries through the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline, a major supply route to Germany and beyond.
Gazprom cannot guarantee the safe operation of Nord Stream 1
Gazprom said on July 13 that it could not ensure the operational safety of a critical part of the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline due to uncertainties regarding the return of a turbine sent to Canada for maintenance.
The return of the turbine — crucial element of the gas pipeline sent for maintenance in Canada — to Russia’s Portovaya compressor station has been at the center of attention for a month and the reduction of its deliveries to Germany by Gazprom.
Despite protests from Ukraine, Canada airlifted the turbine to Germany on July 17 after repair work was completed, the newspaper reported. Kommersantciting people knowledgeable about the situation.
It will take another five to seven days for the turbine, serviced by Siemens Energy, to reach Russia if there are no logistics and customs issues, it said. Kommersant.
The daily specifies that the turbine will be sent from Germany by ferry, then transported overland via Helsinki. The equipment is expected to arrive in Russia around July 24, with preparation work still requiring three to four days, according to the newspaper.
Germany’s economy ministry said on Monday it could not provide details on the whereabouts of the turbine.
Its absence is not the reason for the drop in gas flows
A ministry spokesperson, however, said the turbine was a spare part only due to be used from September, meaning its absence could not be the real reason for the drop in gas flows preceding maintenance.
Concerns remain, however, about the possibility that Russia will extend the period of work. It would disrupt plans to fill European gas stocks for the winter and deepen a crisis that has led to emergency measures by governments and painfully high bills for consumers.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov redirected questions to Gazprom. The company and the Russian Energy Ministry did not respond to requests for comment.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he told Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Sunday that Ukrainians would not accept ” never “ Canada‘s decision to return the turbine, believing that this decision violated the sanctions.
The supply of Russian gas, however, remains stable for Serbia and Hungary via the TurkStream gas pipeline, which carries gas under the Black Sea to the European territory of Turkey and then to Bulgaria, Serbia and Hungary.
Russia has stopped delivering gas to Bulgaria, but the latter continues to fulfill its obligations by channeling Russian gas to Serbia and Hungary.
Hungary takes steps
Hungary has said it is in negotiations with Russia to redirect all its gas deliveries under a long-term supply agreement with Russia to the TurkStream gas pipeline, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto.
The move is essential to ensure security of supply, as levels of gas shipments from Austria to Hungary are reduced due to the insecurity of the Western European gas pipeline network, Szijjarto said.
Hungary has already said it will not share its gas with other EU countries in an emergency, as required by EU solidarity rules.
The European Union, which has imposed sanctions on Moscow, aims to stop using Russian fossil fuels by 2027, but wants supply to continue for now as it ditches supplies Russians.
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