Gazprom will not reopen the gas pipeline in an 11th hour strike to Europe

RRussia’s Gazprom PJSC said its key gas pipeline to Europe would not reopen as planned, pushing the region one step closer to blackouts, restrictions and a severe recession. The pipeline was due to reopen on Saturday after repairs. But in a last-minute statement late on Friday, the company said a technical problem had been discovered and the tube could not operate again until it was fixed. This is a huge blow to Europe, which is struggling to fill its gas storage before winter and which for weeks has been trying to second-guess Moscow’s next steps in the energy war. As Europe tries to implement measures to get through the winter, Moscow is keeping its politicians on the hook.

Read more: The energy crisis in Europe will worsen. The world will bear the costAn oil leak was found in a gas turbine that helps pump gas into the link, Gazprom said. There is no indication of how long the fix might take. Similar oil leaks were previously found in some other turbines that are currently not working, and “complete removal of oil leaks from these turbines is possible only under the conditions of a specialized repair company,” Gazprom said. This marks a dramatic escalation in The energy crisis in Europe— and it comes just as prices have dropped. If the shutdown continues, it puts households, factories and economies at risk, weakening Europe’s hand as it backs Ukraine in its war against Russia. The Kremlin has already drastically reduced gas supplies for several months. Kremlin insiders said Moscow was using supplies dwindle to turn up the political heat on European leaders in an attempt to force them to do so reconsider their support for Kyiv.

German Economy Minister Robert Habeck said this week that the country cannot rely on Russia for gas at all, and the government is already preparing for further shutdowns of the flow for more support.

A complete shutdown of Nord Stream, which runs under the Baltic Sea to Germany, would leave only two main gas delivery routes for the European Union: one via Ukraine and Turkish Stream via the Black Sea. Flows through Ukraine are also restricted, while Turkish Stream to southern Europe operates without interruption.

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Europe strives to prepare for the risk of cutting off Russian gas by replenishing reserves, securing alternative supplies such as US LNG and curbing demand.

The European Union is also considering unprecedented interventions in the energy market, including price caps, energy demand cuts and windfall taxes. That helped push prices down this week.

In Germany, Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s coalition is debating a package of relief measures this weekend to help German consumers and businesses cope with rising energy costs.

Despite efforts to contain the crisis, Europe remains exposed after decades of construction dependence on cheap Russian gas, which last year covered around 40% of the EU’s fuel needs. Around half of EU member states are affected by low flows.

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