Russian gas turbine stuck in transit

Moscow and Berlin have exchanged accusations over the delay

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz went to see the gas turbine that triggered the escalation of an energy standoff between Russia and the EU on Wednesday.

After inspecting part of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline and declaring that “the turbine works,” Scholz blamed Moscow for delays in its return and the subsequent reduction of gas flow from Russia to Germany. The Siemens-made equipment had been serviced in Canada and was supposed to be returned to Russia, but international sanctions made that impossible, and the part has since been stranded in Germany.

“[The turbine] can be transported and used at any time,” the chancellor said during a factory visit to Siemens Energy in Muelheim an der Ruhr. “The nonfulfillment of the gas supply contracts has no technical reasons whatsoever,” he added.

Germany has blamed Moscow for deliberately blocking the return process and using the turbine as a pretext to reduce the gas flow. Chancellor Scholz said the turbine had received “all the approvals” necessary for export from Germany to Russia, and it was Gazprom’s turn to provide the customs information to enable the shipment.

Gazprom, however, said on Wednesday that Western sanctions make it impossible to return the pipeline equipment properly.

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A turbine of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline is pictured on August 3, 2022 at the plant of Siemens Energy in Muelheim an der Ruhr, western Germany, where the engine is stored after maintenance work in Canada. © SASCHA SCHUERMANN / AFP
Russian gas giant warns it can’t accept key turbine

It was reported last month that the turbine was set to be sent to Russia within days. As of Thursday, however, it is still in Germany.

Another Siemens turbine was disabled at a compressor station last month due to its technical condition, with gas flow via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline falling to just 20% capacity.

On Wednesday, turbine manufacturer Siemens confirmed that only one out of six of its Nord Stream 1 turbines is currently operational and that five are needed to pump at 100% capacity.

Moscow has repeatedly said that international sanctions are essentially making it impossible to boost supplies to the EU as they prevent due maintenance of the equipment.

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