September 29, 2023

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The Nord Stream gas pipeline between Russia and the EU has reopened, but it will be hours before supplies reach expected levels.

A spokesperson for Nord Stream told POLITICO that maintenance work was concluded as planned at 6 a.m. Thursday morning and deliveries of Russian gas have begun again. “We are in the process of resuming gas transportation,” the spokesperson added. “It can take some hours to reach the nominated transport volumes.”

The news that gas supplies via the Russia to Germany link have resumed will provide some relief to European governments, who feared Moscow would not switch the flow back on again after it was halted for scheduled maintenance earlier this month.

Russian state-backed exporter Gazprom has already halted or reduced deliveries to 12 EU countries, and the fear is that President Vladimir Putin will shut off the gas for good in retaliation for sanctions over his invasion of Ukraine.

On Tuesday, Putin told journalists that gas flows would resume at about 40 percent capacity — 60 million cubic meters per day (mcm/d) — if a turbine that was out for maintenance was returned in time.

“If not,” Putin added, Nord Stream would be able to send “only 30 million cubic meters per day.” That amounts to less than 18 percent capacity.

“Russia is blackmailing us, Russia is using energy as a weapon,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen warned on Wednesday in Brussels. “If we look in hindsight, we see that months before the war broke out, Russia kept gas supply intentionally as low as possible … therefore reducing the supply, tightening the market and driving up the prices.”

Jules Darmanin contributed reporting.

This article is part of POLITICO Pro

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