Gazprom says Nord Stream turbine papers do not resolve problems

The Russian gas giant said it received documents from manufacturer Siemens Energy AG on the component but issues remain.

A tanker passes the gas receiving station of the halted Nord Stream 2 project on the site of a former nuclear power plant in Lubmin, Germany
Nord Stream, a key gas route between Russia and the European Union, has been operating at roughly 40 percent of its capacity, with Gazprom blaming the West for the capped flows [File: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg]

Russia’s Gazprom PJSC said it has received some paperwork related to the delayed delivery of a turbine for the Nord Stream natural gas pipeline, while adding that some additional issues with the equipment still remain.

The company received documents from manufacturer Siemens Energy AG on the component, it said. The part had initially been stranded in Canada due to western sanctions. Issues with sanctions imposed by other regions, including the European Union, remain open, and they are key to maintenance of the equipment, according to Gazprom.

“After studying the documents, Gazprom had to conclude that they do not eliminate the previously identified risks and give rise to additional questions,” the company said in a statement on Twitter.

“In these circumstances, Gazprom has again requested that Siemens provide prompt support in obtaining the required documents and clarifications so that the pending issues can be solved,” it added.

Siemens officials weren’t immediately available for comment. The turbine helps pump gas through the Nord Stream network.

Nord Stream, a key gas route between Russia and the European Union, has been operating at roughly 40% of its capacity since it returned from maintenance last week. In the interim governments and businesses across the block have been on tenterhooks about future shipments through the link, as the region’s worst energy crisis in decades seeps into the broader economy.

Regional tensions have been running high due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and Gazprom has blamed the West for the capped flows through the pipeline. Only two out of six major turbines at the Russian end of the link are operating as international sanctions have limited maintenance options for the equipment, according to the company.

European natural gas prices are trading at a seasonal record amid the supply uncertainty. They could climb higher if Gazprom decides to cap or cut off its exports. The European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called on all EU member states to participate in the effort to save gas, regardless of how dependent they are on Russia for the fuel.

One additional turbine that could help support Nord Stream flows is still in Germany amid paperwork delays, Russian newspaper Kommersant reported on Sunday. If Gazprom provides the required documents to German manufacturer Siemens Energy, the turbine shipment may happen in the next few days, it said.

Technological Issues

“The turbine will be installed after all the technological formalities have been completed and the flows will be at the levels that are technologically possible,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Monday. However, “we have issues with other equipment, of which Siemens is well aware,” he said, signaling the Nord Stream saga is only beginning.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said last week that another Nord Stream turbine is due to go for maintenance on or around July 26, which could reduce flows via the gas link to around 20% of the nameplate capacity, unless the already repaired equipment comes back online to replace it. Siemens and Gazprom weren’t immediately able to comment on the progress of their paperwork exchange.

Despite the turbine spat, Russia is “not interested” in a complete cutoff of its gas deliveries to Europe, Peskov told reporters. However, “if Europe continues its course of absolutely recklessly imposing sanctions and restrictions that are hitting it, the situation may change,” he said.

(Updates with Gazprom statement on turbine first four paragraphs.)

–With assistance from Elena Mazneva and Wilfried Eckl-Dorna.

Source: Bloomberg