The focus of attention is on Russia’s halved deliveries via the Nord Stream gas pipeline to Germany. In addition, Russia has also throttled the flow of gas to Europe on numerous other channels. Overall, significantly less gas comes to Europe – also significantly less than usual at this time of year. It is a “serious and very tense situation,” says Carola Millgramm, head of the gas department at the energy regulator E-Control.
The Yamal pipeline, which leads to Brandenburg via Poland, has been completely dry since the end of April. The official reason for this is the Russian sanctions against the Polish company Europol GAZ, owner of the Polish part of the Yamal-Europe gas pipeline.
The Turkstream pipeline, which runs through Turkey to south-eastern Europe, has been completely closed for a week for maintenance work. That was announced a long time ago. Industry experts in Austria hope that operations will resume afterwards. But an uncertainty remains, despite supplying countries friendly to Russia, such as Turkey, Serbia and Hungary. Politicians in Hungary also emphasize how smoothly the gas supplies are running – the maintenance work is not even mentioned in the state-controlled media. This maintenance work is also not an issue in Serbia and Turkey.
Pipelines through Ukraine are also hardly used
The Russian gas monopoly Gazprom no longer uses one of two pipelines through Ukraine and only uses a little more than half of the capacity for the second pipeline through Ukraine. Daily amounts of 77 million cubic meters were booked and paid for here, but only 41 million cubic meters flow, according to figures from E-Control.
Nord Stream 1, which leads to Germany via the Baltic Sea, is currently only being filled to 40 percent of its capacity. Here Gazprom refers to sanctions-related delays in repair work as the cause and denies political motives. However, this is generally doubted in the EU. In addition, maintenance of Nord Stream 1 is due in July, which will lead to the temporary total closure of the connection – and the refilling afterwards is open.
There has not been such a sharp decline in gas deliveries in other years, Millgramm said in an interview with APA. “So the situation is not typical for the summer.” E-Control observes this every day, and the quantities coming into the country in Austria are currently sufficient to cover consumption and store something. But in June, July and August there is also the lowest consumption of the year. E-Control is therefore already preparing for a wide variety of scenarios.
IEA: Prepare for a total halt to deliveries
In an interview with the Financial Times, Fatih Birol, head of the International Energy Agency (IEA), also warns the EU states to prepare for a total freeze on Russian gas supplies. Demand should therefore be curbed and nuclear power plants should be kept connected to the grid longer. “The closer we get to winter, the more we understand Russia’s intentions,” he said. “I believe the cuts are aimed at preventing Europe from filling up camps and increasing Russia’s leverage in the winter months.”
The Federal Network Agency in Germany also warns that “the situation is tense and a deterioration in the situation cannot be ruled out”, even if the supply is currently guaranteed. The planned filling of the gas storage facility to 90 percent of the capacity by November is not possible with the current gas flows without “additional measures”. The transfer of gas to Austria, France or the Czech Republic is also affected. (apa)