A Gazprom office in St. Petersburg, Russia, 21 July 2022. The company announced Friday it was shutting off gas exports to Europe indefinitely. Photo by Anatoly Maltsev/EPA
Sept. 2 (BP) — Russia’s state energy giant Gazprom announced Friday it will extend the shutdown of gas flows through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline indefinitely.
The move was announced after G7 countries agreed to impose a price cap on Russian oil.
Gas flows, which had been stopped since Wednesday for maintenance, were originally set to resume on Saturday. But Gazprom said it detected an oil leak at its Portovaya compressor station.
“Until the issues on the operation of the equipment are resolved, gas supplies to the Nord Stream gas pipeline have been completely stopped,” Gazprom said in a statement.
The pipeline, which opened in 2011 and flows directly to Germany, accounts for about 35% of Europe’s total Russian gas imports.
Moscow has used oil and gas as a leverage point in negotiations over penalties for its invasion of Ukraine. It had previously threatened to cut off oil exports to countries that implement a price cap. Gas flows through Nord Stream 1 have fallen to 20% of their capacity since June.
Russia’s choking off of gas supplies has been cited as one of the driving factors of the European Union’s record high inflation levels.
A Kremlin spokesperson recently asserted that U.S. sanctions have led to the deterioration of the country’s infrastructure, and that ongoing “technological problems” were preventing normal operations with the pipeline.
German officials have said they have examined the pipeline and found it fully operational with none of the issues that Russia had claimed.
On Wednesday, Russia also suspended gas shipments to the French energy company Engie, which led to French Energy Transition Minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher to accuse Russia of “using gas as a weapon of war.”
Engie said the shutoff was the result of “a disagreement between the parties on the application of contracts,” according to CNN.