Latest cut in Russian gas flow will make EU storage target "impossible": expert
Russia's latest planned reduction in gas flow via the Nord Stream pipeline will make it impossible for the EU to reach its target of filling its gas storage facilities to 80% capacity by November 1, assuming supply via other routes remains at the same level, Thierry Bros, energy expert and professor at Sciences Po Paris, tells NGW.
Gazprom announced on July 25 it would be curtailing deliveries via the Nord Stream to just 33mn m3/day, or just above a fifth of its 55bn m3/year nameplate capacity, starting on the morning of July 27. Currently the pipeline is working at 40% capacity. The Russian company said the further cut was due to the closure of a Siemens turbine as a result of its technical conditions. Another Siemens turbine is set to be returned to Russia after undergoing repairs in Canada, but is currently stuck in Germany pending documentation issues, according to Gazprom.
Assuming that Gazprom does not ramp up supplies via Ukraine and the TurkStream pipeline, currently at 1.3bn m3/month and 1.2bn m3/m respectively, which the company has so far opted not to do despite capacity constraints at Nord Stream since last month, total Russian supply to Europe is set to drop to 3.4bn m3/m, according to Bros. This is 27% lower than the previous record low registered in June, and "makes the job of refilling gas storage to 80% capacity in Europe ahead of winter impossible," the expert says.
The latest announcement by Gazprom comes before EU energy ministers are due to convene in Brussels on July 26 to discuss the bloc's security of energy supply. Specifically, they are set to debate the European Commission's proposal that all member states cut gas consumption by 15% starting next month to conserve supply for winter. A number of member states mostly in south Europe have already voiced their opposition to the measure.
Russia's move will put pressure on Germany, the main proponent of the commission's proposal, to give concessions to other member states to ensure that some action is taken on gas consumption, Bros says. Germany is the main recipient of Nord Stream 1, although several of its neighbours also rely on supplies from the pipeline.