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    Russia says Nord Stream gas supplies still at risk, stoking European fears

Summary

Russia said on Friday gas deliveries via one of the main supply routes to Europe, the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, remained at risk because just one turbine was operational, deepening European concerns as it struggles to secure enough fuel for winter.

by: Reuters

Posted in:

Complimentary, Natural Gas & LNG News, Europe, Market News, Infrastructure, Pipelines, Nord Stream Pipeline, News By Country, Russia

Russia says Nord Stream gas supplies still at risk, stoking European fears

* Nord Stream flows halted for three days this week

* Gas deliveries set to resume on Saturday at 0100 GMT

* Russia blames sanctions for pipeline disruptions

* Brussels says Moscow using gas as economic weapon

Sept 2 (Reuters) - Russia said on Friday gas deliveries via one of the main supply routes to Europe, the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, remained at risk because just one turbine was operational, deepening European concerns as it struggles to secure enough fuel for winter.

Nord Stream 1, which runs under the Baltic Sea to supply Germany and others, was running at 20% capacity even before flows were completely halted for three days this week for maintenance. Deliveries are due to resume on Saturday at 0100 GMT.

Moscow blames sanctions, imposed by the West after Russia invaded Ukraine, for hampering routine operations and maintenance of Nord Stream 1. Brussels says this is a pretext and Russia is using gas as an economic weapon to retaliate.

"There are no technological reserves, one turbine is working, so think about it yourself," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said when asked if more outages could be expected in the pipeline supplied by Russian energy giant Gazprom.

"It's not the fault of Gazprom that the resources are missing. Therefore, the reliability of the entire system is at risk," he said.

Russia continues to insist it is a reliable energy supplier.

Reduced deliveries via Nord Stream, alongside lower flows via Ukraine, another major route, have left European states struggling to refill storage tanks for winter and prompted many to trigger emergency plans that could lead to energy rationing.

Gazprom Chief Executive Alexei Miller said on Wednesday that sanctions meant Siemens Energy, a pipeline equipment supplier, could not carry out regular maintenance.

Siemens Energy, which normally services Nord Stream 1 turbines, said it was not involved in maintenance work now being conducted by Gazprom. It has also said it was ready to help if needed and has said maintenance was excluded from sanctions.

EU governments have been preparing for the possibility that Russia stops deliveries completely, after Gazprom first reduced flows in June and then again in July. The latest maintenance halt was announced at short notice.

Germany, which has been particularly reliant on Russian supplies in the past, has been racing to install temporary liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals to ship in gas, before it builds permanent LNG facilities.

Germany's storage tanks are now nearly 85% full, on track to hit a Oct. 1 target earlier than planned. But Berlin says hitting its target of 95% by a Nov. 1 would still be tough unless companies and households used less fuel.

The EU as a whole has exceeded its target for storage to be 80% full by Oct. 1, ready for when heating usage picks up.

Some European companies, such as fertiliser and aluminium producers, have already cut back output due to sky-high gas prices, while some European domestic consumers have also reined in power usage to save on escalating household energy bills.

(Reporting by Reuters reporters; Editing by Edmund Blair)