Putin warns of Nord Stream 1 gas capacity cuts over equipment repairs

Putin warns of Nord Stream 1 gas capacity cuts over equipment repairs
Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the maintenance of the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline could lead to reduced gas supplies to Europe.
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Putin made the comments after a visit to Tehran on Wednesday [Getty]

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that the capacity of the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline, the single largest link for Russian gas supplies to Europe, could be further reduced due to slow progress in equipment maintenance.

Nord Stream 1, which runs on the bed of the Baltic Sea to Germany, has been in focus since Russia sent troops to Ukraine on Feb. 24 in what Moscow describes as a "special military operation."

The pipeline is staying idle for annual maintenance from July 11 to July 21. Sources told Reuters that Nord Stream is expected to resume gas exports as scheduled but at reduced capacity.

Speaking to reporters after his visit to Tehran, Putin said there were five gas pumping units, operated by Siemens Energy at Nord Stream 1, while one more unit was out of order due to the "crumbling of inside lining."

"There are two functioning machines there, they pump 60 million cubic metres per day ... If one is not returned, there will be one, which is 30 million cubic metres. Has Gazprom something to do with that?" Putin said, adding that one more of the gas pumping turbines is due to be sent for maintenance on July 26.

Nord Stream 1 has the capacity to pump more than 55 billion cubic metres (bcm) a year to the European Union, which last year imported about 140 bcm of gas from Russia via pipelines.

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Kremlin-controlled energy giant Gazprom cut gas exports through the route to 40% capacity last month, citing delays in the return of a turbine Siemens Energy was servicing in Canada, which had initially banned the equipment return, citing sanctions.

The Kommersant newspaper reported on Monday, citing people familiar with the situation, that Canada had eventually sent the turbine needed for Nord Stream 1 to Germany by plane on July 17 after repair work had been completed.

Putin also said that Gazprom was not to blame for the reduction of gas transit capacity, including shutting down one of the routes via Ukraine to Europe by Kyiv.

He added that Gazprom was ready to fulfil its obligations on gas exports.