The Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline has been gradually shut down since Monday morning – the last most important connection for Russian natural gas to Germany has been shut down since 6 a.m. for maintenance work that has been announced for a long time, according to a spokesman for Nord Stream AG ("dpa").
According to the operating company, the work should last until July 21. In these ten days, no gas will be transported through the pipeline to Germany. Canada wants to send a serviced turbine for the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline back to Germany – against objections from Ukraine. Ottawa announced "a temporary and revocable permit" for the manufacturer – an exception to the Russian sanctions.
Among others, Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck (Greens) had expressed concerns that Russia would no longer be able to turn on the gas tap even after the maintenance had been completed.
Robert Habeck, Federal Minister of Economics:
"Nord Stream 1 always gets maintenance in the summer, then the pipeline shuts down, usually for 10 days. But based on the pattern we've seen, it wouldn't be super surprising now if some small technical detail is found and then you say: 'We can't turn it on again. Now we found something during maintenance and that's it.' So the situation is very tense."
Since the start of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine at the end of February, the supply of gas to Europe from Russia has been considered endangered.
In 2020, Russia delivered a total of around 168 billion cubic meters of natural gas to Europe via pipeline ("Statista") – Germany was the most important customer with almost a third (56.3 billion cubic meters). Nord Stream 1 is owned and operated by Nord Stream AG, whose shares are held by Gazprom (51%), Wintershall Dea, E.ON, Gasunie and Engie.
According to the company, safety systems, power supply, fire and gas protection as well as shut-off and isolation valves, among other things, will be checked and repaired or calibrated if necessary. Software updates are also planned. According to the Federal Network Agency, the work is not taking place directly on the line, but at the compressor stations, for example in Lubmin.
The Russian state-owned company Gazprom had significantly reduced the delivery volume in June, citing technical problems. According to models from the Federal Network Agency, a permanent shutdown could lead to a gas shortage in Germany in winter. In the past, the duration of the work sometimes deviated slightly from the scheduled time.
Nord Stream, also known as the Baltic Sea Pipeline, is a system of underwater gas pipelines that run from Russia to Germany. It consists of two pipelines, Nord Stream 1 (also Nord Stream, formerly North European Gas Pipeline, NEGP) and Nord Stream 2, each with two strands. On September 10, 2021, the construction of Nord Stream 2 was completed. Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz decided to stop the certification process for the Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea pipeline due to the expected Russian invasion of Ukraine.