PJSC Gazprom has stopped natural gas shipments via its Nord Stream 1 natural gas pipeline to Germany indefinitely. The company said that during scheduled maintenance on Nord Stream pipeline’s gas compressor unit (GCU) No. 24 at Portovaya compressor station it discovered an oil leak that had reached terminal connections serving the 66-Mw Siemens Trent 60 turbine’s rotor-speed sensors. Gazprom indicated that it was conducting the maintenance jointly with Siemens.
The company also said that Russia’s environmental supervisory agency (Rostekhnadzor) had issued a safety warning that required the GCU be idled until its safe operations could be ensured. It further described the leak as similar to issues that have forced other GCU to be taken offline and returned to Siemens for repair. The absence of these units has had Nord Stream 1 operating at just 20% of its designed 55-billion cu m/year capacity since June.
Gazprom had planned to complete maintenance today and restart the compressor tomorrow morning, saying via Twitter earlier this month that shipments would be resumed at a rate of 33 million cu m/day (OGJ Online, Aug. 22, 2022).
Initial reaction from consumers of Russian gas was skeptical. European Commission spokesman Eric Manner wrote on Twitter that “Gazprom’s announcement this afternoon that it is once again shutting down Nord Stream 1 under fallacious pretenses is another confirmation of its unreliability as a supplier. It’s also proof of Russia’s cynicism, as it prefers to flare gas instead of honoring contracts.”
The shutdown announcement came just hours after G7 finance ministers agreed to impose a cap on Russian oil aimed at both avoiding prices spikes and slashing the country’s revenue, undermining its ability to continue the war in Ukraine (OGJ Online, Sept. 2, 2022). Russia said it would stop selling oil to countries implementing the policy.