German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has warned that Germany must “expect that supply contracts will no longer be honored” by Russian state-owned energy company Gazprom, even if gas flows resume through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline.
Gazprom had blamed significantly decreased gas deliveries in the Nord Stream 1 pipeline on technical issues relating to the turbine.
“It is clear and simple: the turbine is there. It can be delivered. All someone has to do is say: I want it. Then it will be there very quickly,” Scholz said during a visit to the Ruhr city of Mülheim on Wednesday.
The chancellor, who was there to inspect a pipeline turbine that had recently been serviced in Canada, said that there were no legal or technical reasons or sanctions preventing the export of the turbine to Russia.
“It must always be clear that there can always be some kind of pretextual reasons that lead to something not working. Technical reasons have allegedly stood in the way of gas exports to other European countries. There, too, they were just as incomprehensible,” Scholz said.
“For us, however, this means that we have to be prepared for the fact that even if the transport works now, if the gas transport through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline works well again, it will still be the case that issues can come up again at any time,” he added.
Speaking alongside Scholz, Siemens Energy CEO Christian Bruch said that the servicing of the turbine should have been “a routine measure” and reiterated that there were no technical reasons for reduced gas flows. Siemens Energy and the German government had prepared all paperwork on their side but were still missing documentation from Gazprom, Bruch added.
Last week, the Russian state-owned energy company said that it would further reduce gas flows through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, halting a turbine for repairs. Gas flows to Germany through the pipeline have since run at 20%, according to German authorities.
Gas through Nord Stream 1 had previously been flowing at 40% capacity after Russia slashed exports in response to Western sanctions over the country’s invasion of Ukraine.