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Russia’s conditions to reactivate Nord Stream gas pipeline with Germany

According to the Russian Minister of Energy, Nikolai Shulginov, the activity will resume “as soon as the problem is resolved in accordance with the contractual obligation to repair the turbine.”

Gasoducto Nord Stream 1
DPA vía Europa Press

The Russian Energy Minister Nikolai Shulginov has indicated that gas flow in the Nord Stream gas pipeline will be resumed “as soon as the problem is resolved in accordance with the contractual obligation to repair the turbine”.

The Russian gas consortium Gazprom indicated on Friday that it had detected an oil leak in the only functioning turbine at the Portovaya compression station for the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline and that it would cut off the supply until the fault was repaired. Russia argues that Siemens Energy should be responsible for repairing the turbine, since it can only be fixed in a specialized workshop, as is the case in Canada of the German company.

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Another turbine which had already been repaired there, failed. However, despite being authorized to return it via Germany as an exception to Western sanctions imposed on Russia, it has so far not returned to Portovaya because Moscow requires a certificate that the cargo plane which will deliver it will not affected by restrictions.

In any case, Siemens has indicated that the oil leak is not a reason that justifies the total stoppage of the gas pipeline and has highlighted that “there are other turbines available” for use in the affected compression station.

“Until further notice, our assessment is that the finding communicated to us does not represent a technical reason for stopping operation. Such leaks do not normally affect the operation of a turbine and can be sealed on site, the German firm said in a statement.

Gazprom warns of a risk of explosion

Gazprom meanwhile insisted the day before that there is a serious risk of explosion or fire at the Portovaya compressor station if the gas supply through the Nord Stream is reactivated. The Russian company warned that “the operation of this compressor unit without remedying the detected faults creates a risk of fire or explosion, which has repercussions on the industrial safety of the entire station”.

The Kremlin and the gas company have highlighted that it is the sanctions that are causing the problems at the compressor station, since there are no spare parts if a turbine fails and the repaired ones cannot return to Russia due to western restrictions.