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Important gas pipeline from Russia to Europe returns to work

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Natural gas began flowing through a major gas pipeline from Russia to Europe on Thursday after a 10-day maintenance break, the operator said. However, gas flow is expected to be well below full capacity.

The Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Germany had been closed since July 11 for annual maintenance work. Amid rising tensions over Russia’s war in Ukraine, German authorities had feared that the pipeline — the country’s main source of Russian gas, which has accounted for about a third of Germany’s gas supplies — might not be reopened. absolutely.

Operator Nord Stream AG said gas was flowing again on Thursday morning, the German news agency dpa reported.

However, Russia’s Gazprom on Thursday reported deliveries of only about 30% of the pipeline’s capacity, the head of Germany’s grid regulator, Klaus Mueller, tweeted.

In mid-June, the Russian state company Gazprom had already reduced the flow to 40% of its capacity. It alleged technical problems related to equipment that its partner Siemens Energy sent to Canada for review and that could not be returned due to sanctions imposed by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Earlier this month, the Canadian government authorized the delivery to Germany of the turbine that powers a compression station at the Russian end of the pipeline.

The German government has rejected Gazprom’s technical explanation for the gas cut, repeatedly accusing it of being a pretext for a political decision intended to sow uncertainty and push energy prices even higher. He has said that the turbine was a change that should only be installed in September, but that he is doing everything he can to deprive Russia of the pretext of reducing supplies.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that Gazprom had not yet received the relevant documents for the return of the turbine, a statement he repeated on Wednesday. Putin said that Gazprom was going to shut down another turbine for repairs at the end of July, and that if the one sent to Canada was not returned by then the flow of gas would decrease further.

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