MOSCOW (Reuters) -Russia tightened its fuel squeeze on Europe on Monday as Gazprom stated provides via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Germany would drop to simply 20% of capability.
Gazprom stated flows would fall to 33 million cubic metres per day from 0400 GMT on Wednesday - a halving of the present, already decreased stage - as a result of it wanted to halt the operation of a Siemens fuel turbine at a compressor station on directions from an business watchdog.
Germany stated it noticed no technical cause for the most recent discount, which comes as Russia and the West trade financial blows in response to what Moscow calls its particular army operation in Ukraine.
The Dutch front-month fuel contract, the European benchmark, closed 9.95% greater on information of the most recent blow to Nord Stream 1. The pipeline, which has a capability of 55 billion cubic metres a yr, is the one largest Russian fuel hyperlink to Europe.
The European Union has repeatedly accused Russia of resorting to vitality blackmail, whereas the Kremlin says the shortfalls have been attributable to upkeep points and the impact of Western sanctions.
Politicians in Europe have stated Russia might reduce off fuel flows this winter, which might thrust Germany into recession and result in hovering costs for customers already grappling with greater costs for meals and vitality.
Germany was compelled final week to announce a $15 billion bailout of Uniper, its largest firm importing fuel from Russia.
President Vladimir Putin had foreshadowed the most recent reduce, warning the West this month that continued sanctions risked triggering catastrophic vitality value rises for customers around the globe.
Russia had already reduce flows via Nord Stream 1 to 40% of capability in June, citing the delayed return of a turbine that was being serviced by Siemens Vitality in Canada - a proof that Germany rejected as spurious.
It then shut Nord Stream 1 altogether for 10 days of annual upkeep this month, restarting it final Thursday nonetheless at 40% of regular ranges.
The servicing of that first turbine remains to be a matter of dispute because it makes its approach again to Russia via a tangle of paperwork and conflicting statements.
Gazprom stated on Monday it had obtained paperwork from Siemens Vitality and Canada however "they don't take away the beforehand recognized dangers and lift further questions".
It stated there have been additionally nonetheless questions over EU and UK sanctions, "the decision of which is necessary for the supply of the engine to Russia and the pressing overhaul of different fuel turbine engines for the Portovaya compressor station."
Siemens Vitality stated the transport of the serviced turbine to Russia might begin instantly, and the ball was in Gazprom's courtroom.
"The German authorities offered Siemens Vitality with all the mandatory paperwork for the export of the turbine to Russia at first of final week. Gazprom is conscious of this," it stated.
"What's lacking, nevertheless, are the customs paperwork for import to Russia. Gazprom, because the buyer, is required to supply these."
The German firm stated it noticed no hyperlink between the turbine difficulty and the fuel cuts applied or introduced by Gazprom. Gazprom didn't instantly reply to a request for remark.
The Kremlin stated earlier that Moscow was not desirous about an entire stoppage of Russian fuel provides to Europe, which is straining to fill its underground storage earlier than the height demand winter season.
The disruption has raised the danger of fuel rationing on the continent, with the European Union proposing to member states final week that they reduce fuel use by 15% between August and March in contrast with the identical interval of earlier years.
Russia is the world's second largest oil exporter after Saudi Arabia and the world's largest exporter of pure fuel. Europe imports about 40% of its fuel and 30% of its oil from Russia.
(Reporting by Reuters in Moscow; further reporting by Nina Chestney, Marwa Awad and Christoph Steitz; writing by Mark Trevelyan, modifying by Man Faulconbridge, Barbara Lewis and Tomasz Janowski)