Gazprom PJSC told European gas customers that part of the damaged Nord Stream network could still transport fuel — but only on the new pipeline that Germany ditched in February in protest at Russia’s aggression toward Ukraine.
The Nord Stream 2 pipeline was set to go into operation earlier this year when Germany pulled the plug on the project just before Russia’s invasion. The pipeline, which was set to double the capacity of Nord Stream, had been sanctioned by the U.S. and faced strong opposition in parts of Europe, forcing Germany to eventually give up on the project.
After the suspected sabotage of the network last week in a series of explosions, Gazprom said on Monday three of the lines were affected and one wasn’t. The gas giant has lowered pressure on the unaffected line B of Nord Stream 2 to inspect the link for damage and potential leaks, it said in a statement on its Telegram account.
Any start of Nord Stream 2 would require approval from the EU and is unlikely as tensions between the Kremlin and the West are deepening.
The European Union is preparing a stronger package of sanctions to punish Russia for escalating its war in Ukraine and illegally annexing four occupied territories there. The restrictions would include a price cap on Russian oil and target a range of individuals and entities, including senior Russian ministry officials and people involved in staging the recent, widely condemned referendums.
Gas has stopped leaking from the three ruptured pipelines in the Baltic Sea in the Danish and Swedish exclusive economic zones, according to Gazprom.
Traders and policy makers have been closely monitoring Gazprom’s exports to Europe for months as the continent battles its worst energy crisis in decades. The Russian company has been gradually reducing deliveries to the continent amid the war, citing western sanctions and restrictions imposed by the Kremlin as the key reasons.
The cause of the damage to the Nord Stream pipelines so far remains unknown, with western countries and Russia blaming each other.
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said last week the pipelines had been attacked by ‘Anglo-Saxons,’ while several leaders in the European Union said they consider the attacks a sabotage. Europe has also bolstered security at key energy assets, fearing further attacks.
Nord Stream and Nord Stream 2 each have a shipment capacity of 55 billion cubic meters per year, which means line B could deliver as much as 27.5 billion cubic meters per year to Germany across the Baltic Sea.