Nord Stream gas row deepens as Gazprom issues new turbine complaints

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Pipes at the landing facilities of the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline are pictured in Lubmin, Germany, March 8, 2022. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

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  • This content was produced in Russia, where the law restricts coverage of Russian military operations in Ukraine

MOSCOW, July 29 (Reuters) – Delivery of a Nord Stream 1 gas turbine to Germany from Canada after maintenance was not in accordance with the contract, Gazprom’s says (GAZP.MM) said the senior manager on Friday, intensifying criticism of the manufacturer Siemens Energy (ENR1n.DE).

The comments signaled a deepening of a row in which Russia has cited turbine problems as its reason for reducing gas supplies via Nord Stream 1 – its main gas link to Europe – to just 20% of capacity from Wednesday.

Vitaly Markelov, Gazprom’s deputy managing director, also said Russia had repeatedly complained to Siemens Energy about problems with other turbines.

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“We have repeatedly applied to the Russian representative office of Siemens about this, sent 10 letters. Siemens did not correct more than a quarter of the identified errors,” he said in a television interview.

He cited the serial numbers of three other engines that had to be repaired by Siemens due to faults in May and June that had put them in a state of forced downtime.

Siemens Energy declined to respond to Markelov’s comments. The company referred to an earlier statement from Wednesday in which it said it did not have access to the turbines on site and had not received any damage reports from Gazprom and therefore had to assume the turbines were operating normally.

The European Union disputes Russia’s and Gazprom’s argument that turbine problems are to blame for the sharp drop in supply through the pipeline connecting Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea. The shortage has increased the risk of shortages and gas rationing in Europe this winter.

Siemens Energy has previously countered Gazprom’s criticism of its service by saying it was up to the Russian company to file customs documents for the turbine’s return.

With both sides trading economic blows since Russia sent its troops into Ukraine on February 24, the EU has accused Russia of energy blackmail, something the Kremlin denies.

Markelov said the turbine that had been serviced in Canada had still not returned to Russia.

“It was sent to Germany, not to Russia, without Gazprom’s consent,” he said, adding that this created sanctions risks.

Gazprom will also send other turbines from the compressor station in Portovaya for repair. “There is no clarity that the maintenance of the gas turbine engines will not fall under the sanctions,” Markelov said.

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Report from Reuters; Editing by Mark Trevelyan, David Holmes and Jane Merriman

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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