The Russian energy giant Gazprom announced on Saturday that it had asked the German group Siemens to return a turbine it repaired in Canada to ensure the operation of the Nord Stream gas pipeline delivering gas to Europe.
Gazprom began 10 days of maintenance on the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline on Monday, with the European Union – particularly gas-dependent Germany – nervously waiting to see if the taps will be reopened.
Moscow had already cut supplies by 60% in recent weeks, blaming the absence of the turbine.
Despite Western sanctions against Russia during its military operation in Ukraine, Canada agreed to grant what it described as a time-limited and revocable permit to Siemens Canada to allow the machine to be returned.
But Gazprom claims to have received no guarantee of dismissal.
“On July 15, Gazprom submitted a formal request to Siemens for the documents […] to enable the export of the gas turbine engine from the Portovaya station, a critical facility for the Nord Stream pipeline,” it said in a statement.
“Gazprom relies on the Siemens Group to unconditionally fulfill its obligations relating to the repair and maintenance of gas turbine engines on which depend the reliability of Nord Stream pipeline operations and natural gas deliveries to European consumers.”
The annual works of the gas link were scheduled well in advance, but with relations between Russia and the West at rock bottom, some fear that Gazprom will seize the opportunity to simply close the floodgates.