Gazprom refuses to accept
Putin presents Germany with a turbine
By Jan Ganger
07/26/2022, 2:55 p.m
The federal government wants to make it possible for a Nord Stream turbine to be delivered from Canada to Russia. But the device is stuck in Germany. Because the energy giant Gazprom prefers to slowly turn off the gas to Germany.
That’s really not surprising: From Wednesday, even less gas is supposed to flow through the Nord Stream 1 Baltic Sea pipeline to Germany, and Russia’s energy giant Gazprom will continue to throttle delivery. Kremlin ruler Vladimir Putin promised this last week, referring to a turbine serviced in Canada that had not yet arrived at the compressor station in Portovaya, Russia. In addition, another unit will soon have to be repaired.
And it is with these justifications that Gazprom and the Kremlin justify the new supply cuts. The German government considers the arguments put forward by the Russian side to be false. The turbine is just a spare part, Russia can deliver more gas without it. As flimsy as Gazprom’s justification sounds, the further cut in deliveries is a disgrace for the traffic light coalition.
The Canadian government had banned the delivery of the serviced turbine due to its own sanctions imposed on Russia. The German Foreign Ministry had therefore put the Canadians under pressure with a drastic warning. If Putin uses the absence of the turbine as an excuse and completely blocks gas in Germany, there could be popular uprisings in Germany. The Canadian government then allowed the turbine to be exported to Germany. It is to be transported to Russia via this stopover.
The federal government had repeatedly argued that the delivery was intended to give the Kremlin an excuse to stop gas supplies. However, she did not succeed. Because Russia refuses to import it – and the turbine is said to be stuck in Germany.
Gazprom lacks documents
According to the manufacturer Siemens Energy, everything is prepared for the transport, the delivery can start immediately. The company “already had all the necessary documents for the export from Germany to Russia at the beginning of last week and also informed Gazprom about this,” according to a statement. “What is missing, however, are the necessary customs documents for imports to Russia.” This information could only be provided by the customer.
The maintenance of the turbines is routine, according to Siemens Energy. There have been “no significant complications” in the past ten years. The Canadian government’s current approval also stipulates that further Siemens Energy turbines can be serviced in Montreal and then exported. “We therefore see no connection between the turbine and the implemented or announced gas throttling at this point in time.”
However, the customer does not currently intend to take over the turbine. Gazprom justifies this with missing documents. It is not clear whether the delivery does not violate Canadian sanctions. There are also questions about sanctions imposed on Russia by the EU and the UK. This is not only a problem with the delivery of this turbine, but also with the maintenance of other units.
Step by step less gas
It is not officially known where exactly the twelve meter long turbine is located. According to information from the Russian business newspaper Kommersant, she arrived in Germany by cargo plane on July 17. Then it was to be transported by ship across the Baltic Sea to Finland and then overland to the Russian border. The further transport by ferry to Helsinki planned for last Saturday failed, it said.
Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck said that the “cabal around the turbine from Canada” was an example of Russia’s politicization of technical issues. “One sometimes has the impression that Russia no longer wants to take them back,” said the Green politician. Nevertheless, the federal government wanted and still wants to make the delivery possible.
Meanwhile, the Russian government is continuing its tactics. Since June, the state-controlled Gazprom group has been gradually shutting down gas supplies to Germany. In June, Nord Stream 1 cut supplies to 40 percent of maximum capacity and relegated the turbine being shipped to Canada for repairs. During a ten-day routine maintenance, no gas flowed through the main supply pipeline to Germany. Gas deliveries were resumed last Thursday – but still reduced to 40 percent. From this Wednesday, the amount is to be reduced to 20 percent of the maximum capacity. Reason: the repair of another turbine.
“It’s clear that Russia wants to provoke an energy crisis in Europe,” says Janis Kluge from the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP) in an interview with ntv.de. “There is no alternative reality where we help Ukraine to oppose the Russian invasion and where Russia continues to supply us with gas.”