Russia has extended a shutdown of its Nordstream 1 natural gas pipeline indefinitely, cutting off Europe from Russian gas supplies with no date for bringing the pipeline back online.
The pipeline has already been shut down for a month for “maintenance,” despite being given numerous options for being able to work around a supposed malfunctioning turbine.
Russia blamed sanctions over its war on Ukraine for its supposed inability to maintain the pipeline.
Meanwhile, Europe is accusing Russia of using its gas supplies as a political tool to punish Europe for the sanctions or possibly to get European nations to cancel the sanctions in order to get more gas from Russia.
Siemens Energy, the German company that manufactures the turbines, said that leaks like the one reported by Russia “do not normally affect the operation of a turbine and can be sealed on site. It is a routine procedure within the scope of maintenance work.”
“We have already pointed out several times that there are sufficient other turbines available at the Portovaya compressor station for Nord Stream 1 to operate,” Siemens Energy also said in a statement Friday.
The immediate effect of the Nordstream 1 shutdown was a 30% increase in gas prices across Europe, at a time when gas prices are already 400% higher than a year ago.
Typically, the pipeline supplies about a third of Europe’s gas, but it was only running at 20% capacity before it was taken offline.
A significant portion of Europe’s remaining gas supply comes from Ukraine, but the war has reduced this source also.
Vladimir Putin is obviously flexing his muscles and sending Europe the message that they are better off putting up with his aggressions toward Ukraine and other select areas than boycotting his gas.
And Europe is scrambling to figure out how to handle the situation with cold winter months coming when gas is needed most.
Its people will not be able to afford both gas and food in many cases, putting them in a nearly impossible situation that will not be easy to solve.