Turbine return is no guarantee of extra Russian gas supply for Europe
The return of a gas turbine to Russia, made possible by a sanctions exemption provided by Canada's government, is no guarantee of extra gas supply for Europe via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, Thierry Bros, professor at Sciences Po Paris, tells NGW.
Russia cut gas supply via Nord Stream 1 by 60% last month, citing technical difficulties relating to Siemens' failure to return a turbine sent off to Canada for repairs, due to sanctions. Germany and several other European countries subsequently reported reductions in Russian gas flow.
The pipeline is currently offline after beginning a 10-day maintenance run on July 11. Russian gas flow to Europe has since fallen to under 80mn m3/day, down from roughly 350mn m3/d prior to Moscow launching its invasion of Ukraine. According to Russian press, the turbine was delivered on a plane to Germany on July 17.
"Europe has been able to cope with the reductions in supply so far, so we don't need the turbine back," Bros says. "We can't say we want to reduce our Russian gas dependency, and follow Gazprom's request to hand back turbines."
The turbine's return will not necessarily mean more Russian gas supply, as Gazprom could have rerouted gas via Ukraine if it had been interested in maintaining supply volumes.
"The return of the turbine will not guarantee more gas," Bros says. "After all, Gazprom could have redirected supply via Ukraine but chose not to do so."