Nord Stream Goes Through Europe Again

Nord Stream Goes Through Europe Again

Supplies via Nord Stream 1, which runs under the Baltic Sea to Germany, stopped operating for maintenance on July 11. However, even before that outage, Russia cut flows to 40% of the pipeline’s capacity in a dispute sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

According to Nord Stream figures, Thursday’s flows were back at that 40% capacity level a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that supplies could be cut further or even stopped.

The resumption of Nord Stream supplies at levels that remain well below the pipeline’s capacity means Germany, particularly reliant on Russian fuel, and other European economies are still struggling to find enough gas for winter.

Gas flows via other pipeline routes, such as Ukraine, have fallen since Russia invaded its neighbor in February in what Moscow calls a “special military operation.”

Germany and several other states have already activated the first stages of emergency plans that, in some cases, could lead to rationing. Greece said it would implement rotating power cuts as a last resort if necessary on Thursday.

The EU aims to have gas storage facilities across the bloc 80% full by Nov. 1. Inventories are now about two-thirds full, with a slowing pace of refilling.

The German network regulator said Germany would struggle to reach its target of 90% full by November without additional measures if Nord Stream deliveries remained low.

Emergency Steps

To prevent a winter supply crunch, the European Commission has proposed a voluntary target for all EU states to cut gas use by 15% from August to March compared to usage in 2016-2021. The Commission proposal would enable Brussels to make the target mandatory in a supply emergency.

Several southern EU states opposed the plan, which needs a broad majority of support in the 27-nation bloc to proceed. Portugal said it would hamper power production during an extreme drought. Spain and Greece also voiced opposition.