The Nord Stream One natural gas pipeline between Russia and Germany has suffered an apparent rupture and all gas flows have been halted.
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UPDATE 4:16 PM EDT —
Natural gas markets in Europe are now collapsing with price spikes of unimaginable rates. Almost no natural gas can flow to Europe now and countries there cannot receive enough to keep the economies going.
UPDATE 10:05 PM EDT —
The operator of the Nordstream One pipeline says a turbine failure caused a gas leak and all gas flow had to be turned off. They cannot even speculate as to when flow may resume because Siemens cannot tell them when a replacement turbine will be made available. Until that happens, no natural gas through the pipeline.
The Russian energy major Gazprom extended the shutdown of gas flows through its key Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Germany on Friday evening, providing no timeframe for a reopening.
The move came hours after G7 countries agreed to impose a price cap on Russian oil in an attempt to stem the flow of funds to Vladimir Putin’s regime.
Gazprom, the state-owned oil and gas firm, said supplies would remain halted indefinitely after a leak was detected. It said the pipeline would not restart until repairs were fully implemented.
Nord Stream 1 is the single biggest pipeline for gas from Russia to Europe and has the capacity to deliver 55bn cubic metres (bcm) of gas a year. Continued supplies through the pipeline are seen as crucial to prevent a deepening of the energy crisis.
In a statement on Telegram, Gazprom said: “Gas transportation to the Nord Stream gas pipeline has been completely halted until the complaints on the operation of the equipment have been eliminated.”
It said in the social media post it had identified “malfunctions” on a key turbine along the pipeline, which carries natural gas from western Russia to Germany, and that the pipeline would not work unless these were eliminated.
Early on Wednesday, Gazprom completely halted the flow of gas through Nord Stream 1, in line with an earlier announcement, adding that the stoppage would last for three days. Flows were due to resume just after midnight on Saturday morning.
The company said work was necessary on the only remaining functioning turbine at the Portovaya compressor station at the Russian end of the pipeline, but German officials cast doubt on that explanation.
The timing of the move will raise questions over whether Putin was responding to the impending imposition of a cap on Russian oil. Finance ministers from the UK, US, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Canada on Friday agreed a plan to put a ceiling on Russian oil prices.
The proposal would mean importers seeking shipping services and insurance cover from companies based in G7 and EU countries would need to adhere to a price cap to transport Russian oil. It is likely to be introduced from December.
Since the invasion of Ukraine, Putin’s regime has been accused of weaponising gas by reducing supplies into Europe, pushing prices higher and threatening blackouts.
Gazprom officials have already indicated they would blame sanctions for disrupting gas deliveries to Europe. In remarks earlier this week, Gazprom’s chief executive, Alexei Miller, indicated that the manufacturer Siemens could not perform repairs on the turbines used in Nord Stream 1 because of sanctions against the Russian state energy company.
The shutoff will add to concerns that Europe, and Germany in particular, will be forced to significantly curtail power usage for households and businesses this year.