Healthy and General

Russia Halts Natural Gas Flows Via Nord Stream 1

2 min read

  • Russia cut off natural gas supplies to Europe via the key Nord Stream 1 pipeline Wednesday.
  • The outage means Germany will get no Russian gas imports until Saturday, putting pressure on its economy.
  • Europe’s leaders say Moscow is using gas halts to hit back against Western sanctions over the Ukraine war.

Russia shut down natural gas flows through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline on Wednesday, stoking Europe’s energy crisis as it hits back against Western sanctions over the Ukraine war.

State-owned energy giant Gazprom warned earlier in August that the pipeline, which carries gas from Russia to Germany, would close for planned maintenance works for three days. Operations are expected to resume on Saturday.

Moscow has choked off Europe’s gas supply via the pipeline this year, using the continent’s dependence on Russian gas to its benefit.¬†Europe imported around 45% of its natural gas from Russia in 2021, according to the International Energy Agency.

Gazprom had already slashed Nord Stream 1’s capacity to 40%, and then to 20%, saying it was waiting for the delivery of a repaired turbine.

The drop in supply sent European gas prices soaring, with benchmark Dutch TTF futures rising over 200% since the start of June, and about 1,000% higher than a year ago. They slid Monday and Tuesday thanks to reports Europe was ahead of goals on winter gas storage, but were up about 7% at just over 283 euros ($283) at last check Wednesday.

European officials have accused Russia of using its natural gas supplies to try to create an economic crisis on the continent as it looks to hit back against Western sanctions imposed after it invaded Ukraine in February.

“Very clearly Russia is using gas as a weapon of war, and we must prepare for the worst case scenario of a complete interruption of supplies,” France’s energy transition minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher said Tuesday.

Soaring energy prices have contributed to a cost-of-living crisis in Europe. In August, Germany recorded its highest inflation figure in half a century and UK inflation hit double digits for the first time in 40 years.

Read more: This map shows where Europe gets its natural gas – and why economic disaster is looming if Russia cuts off its fuel supply