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Russia delays resumption of natural gas exports to Germany, citing oil leak

Pipes of the gas storage plant Reckrod are pictured near Eiterfeld, central Germany, Thursday, July 14, 2022, after the Nord Stream 1 pipeline was shut down due to maintenance.
(AP Photo/Michael Probst)
Pipes of the gas storage plant Reckrod are pictured near Eiterfeld, central Germany, Thursday, July 14, 2022, after the Nord Stream 1 pipeline was shut down due to maintenance. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

Russia announced Friday that it has delayed exporting natural gas to Germany through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, citing an oil leak.

The development comes after a group of Western countries, including the United States, agreed to a price gap on Russian oil amid its war with Ukraine.

The Russian state-run energy company Gazprom said in a post on Twitter Friday that an oil leak was discovered during scheduled maintenance within a gas compressor unit.

Workers detected the oil in the detachable cable connection of a mounting plate that makes up part of the engine and near the cable line in the outer terminal cabinet of the automated control system, Gazprom said. 

The pipeline has been shut down since Wednesday for maintenance work. 

Russia’s environmental, technological and nuclear supervision agency, Rostekhnadzor, warned that the faults make ensuring the safe operation of the gas turbine engine impossible. 

The statement says similar oil leaks have been detected in the past at gas compressor units in three engines, requiring major repairs and that they be taken offline.

Gazprom said Siemens, a German multinational industrial manufacturing company, requires repairs for these types of leaks at a specialized repair facility. 

“Gas transmission via the Nord Stream gas pipeline has been fully shut down until the operational defects in the equipment are eliminated,” the statement reads. 

The news comes as members of the Group of Seven agreed to place a price cap on Russian oil, prohibiting “services which enable maritime transportation” of oil from Russia if it is sold at a price higher than the cap. The move is an attempt to limit Russian profits amid the country’s war in Ukraine. 

A Kremlin official said in response that Russia would not sell oil to any countries that participate in the cap. 

Russia is the world’s third-largest producer of oil, and Nord Stream 1 is the largest pipeline for sending natural gas from Russia to the rest of Europe. Some countries, like the United States, have said they will not import Russian oil amid its war with Ukraine, but others like China and India have continued to purchase it. 

CNN reported that Gazprom has cut its flows through Nord Stream 1 to just 20 percent of its capacity since June, citing maintenance problems and a missing turbine that has been restricted through sanctions the West has placed on Russia. 

The New York Times reported that a European Commission spokesperson said Russia is limiting its gas deliveries in retribution for Europe opposing the war in Ukraine.

Tags Gazprom natural gas exports Nord Stream 1 oil leak Russia-Ukraine war Russian oil price cap

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