Europe Starts Using Winter Gas Reserves As Russian Supply Dips

International media has reported that Europe has started to use gas reserves which were originally meant for the peak of the winter season due this year.

A view of the Nordstream 1 Pipeline. Credit: Nordstream AG website

International media has reported that Europe has started to use gas reserves which were originally meant for the peak of the winter season due this year. This has been precipitated by reduced supplies of blue fuel from Russia. This decline in supplies has affected Germany, France, Italy and Austria. The decline in gas supplies is due to Gazprom’s decision to suspend operation of Siemens gas turbines due to repair problems.

Stocks in Europe’s underground gas storage have dropped for the first time since mid-April. As of 14 June, they were 52% full. According to the latest data, reserves are down 1%, although gas is usually only pumped in the summer and the resulting volumes are stored until the peak of the winter season.

Wood Mackenzie Ltd. has given a pessimistic forecast: if Nord Stream stops completely, Europe will not be able to reach the level of gas reserves set by the European Union by the start of the heating season. If that happens, Europe’s fuel reserves will be exhausted by January.

Russia’s Gazprom said on Tuesday capacity to supply gas to Europe through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline was constrained due to delayed repair works, limiting Russian gas supplies via another important route to Europe. Gazprom no longer exports gas westbound through Poland via the Yamal-Europe pipeline after Russian sanctions against EuRoPol Gaz, which owns the Polish section. Flows via Yamal-Europe continue eastwards from Germany to Poland.

Separately last month, Ukraine suspended Russian gas flows via one of the two transit points to Europe, cutting off a third of the Russian gas which is piped to Europe through Ukraine.

Gazprom said on Tuesday it has limited supplies via the Nord Stream 1 undersea pipeline to Germany to up to 100 million cubic meters per day, down from 167 million cubic meters, as Siemens delayed returning equipment that had been sent for repair.

It was not immediately clear from Gazprom’s statement whether Siemens AG delayed the repair works or it was Siemens Energy which the German company spun off a few years ago retaining a 35 percent stake.

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