Russian gas flows through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Germany have been transiting at just 20% of the system’s usual capacity for weeks, sending the country into panic. While the Kremlin-controlled Russian gas giant Gazprom may have blamed this on problems with maintenance and repair of pipeline infrastructure, allegedly delayed by Western sanctions, Moscow may have no excuse for the next impending supply shortage.
It comes as huge flames were seen at a compressor station near St Petersburg, raising fears Gazprom’s supplies could also be sold off entirely to other customers.
The compressor station at the Portovaya site is the starting point for Nord Stream 1, where Russian natural gas is compressed and pressed into the pipeline across the Baltic Sea to Lubmin in Germany.
The state-owned gas giant has been accused of burning its own gas that was supposed to be sent to Germany from this compressor station through the system.
Finnish news site “Yle” first published photos of the giant flame blazing above the Portovaya compressor station, which is believed to have reached heights that could be spotted on the Finnish side of the border, where the picture was taken.
Yle wrote on Twitter: “Russia’s massive gas flare can be seen as far away as Finland – the black carbon it creates is one of the reasons northern regions are warming twice as fast than the others..”
The flames were reportedly first seen on June 17, just three days after pipeline gas flows were reduced by 40% and then by a third.
Although the authenticity of the images remains to be verified, data from NASA’s Fire Information for Resource Management Systems (FIRMS) revealed that larger fires have been continuously spotted at the Nord Stream 1 station since supply from the l Germany was interrupted for the first time.
According to data from FIRMS, the number and size of the fires have varied since then, but have never been completely extinguished.
And no regular fires at the compressor station were recorded by NASA before the deadline for the first supply shortage.
It has been suggested that the huge fire above the compressor station shows that Russia’s squeeze on deliveries to Germany is also having financial repercussions for Kremin energy giant Gazprom, and in turn for the Russian state itself.
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This is because the undelivered quantities cannot be fully transferred to other customers either, so it may be that he deliberately flares this gas.
Others suggest the reason for the flames is still unclear.
If Russia has been accused of deliberately burning this gas, it is also possible that technical problems or a malfunction are the cause.
And although Gazprom says it cannot send the usual volumes of gas to Germany due to pipeline infrastructure problems, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has claimed there is no reason for the turbine to gas that was under repair is fully operational and ready for shipment. back to Russia.
The turbine had been serviced in Canada and Gazprom said it took longer than expected due to sanctions.
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He then found himself stranded in Germany and raised tensions.
But when Mr Scholz visited the Siemens Energy plant in Muelheim an der Ruhr, he argued that the turbine could be returned to Russia at any time.
The German chancellor told reporters: “It’s quite clear and simple: the turbine is there and can be delivered, but someone has to say ‘I want to have it’.”
Siemens Energy CEO Christian Bruch said while talks are underway with Gazprom to return critical pipeline infrastructure, a deal has yet to be reached.
Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg.