Russia has finally stopped gas supply to Europe via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, as the economic battle between the Kremlin and Brussels assumes new dimensions. The move by Russia has intensified the prospects of recession and energy rationing in some of Europe’s largest economies.
With the Nord Stream 1 closed off for maintenance by Russian leading energy giant Gazprom, Russia will no longer supply fuel to Germany between August 31 and September 3.
Data accessed via Nord Stream 1 official website shows that the company has not supplied any gas to Germany today, and things are expected to get worse in the coming days.
The EU is now worried that the Kremlin could extend the outage as it fights back against Western sanctions imposed on it for the invasion of Ukraine. While EU leaders have accused Moscow of using energy supplies to blackmail the EU into supporting its invasion, Russia has denied such claims.
If nothing is done to salvage the current situation, Europe’s energy crises will experience further setbacks, and gas prices could soar over the 400% increase we have seen so far. With energy prices rising astronomically, consumers may be forced to bear the brunt of the fallout between Europe and Moscow.
Europe’s current realities
While Germany continues to deal with worsening gas crises, its economy has also been battered significantly. Inflation in the country reached its highest level in nearly 50 years in August. Also, consumer sentiment is expected to hit an all-time low next month as consumers brace up for higher energy bills.
While Gazprom announced last month’s maintenance months ahead, the upcoming maintenance was only announced two weeks ahead, giving the countries limited time to search for alternative options. More so, the latest maintenance is being handled by Gazprom instead of Nord Stream AG.
Previously, Russia had slashed gas supply through the Nord Stream 1 to 40% in June and 20% in July, citing maintenance issues and heavy sanctions that have made it challenging to install faulty equipment.
Gazprom stated that the latest outage is required to fix issues on the pipeline’s remaining compressor. Moscow has halted gas supply to Germany as well as Bulgaria, Finland, Poland, and Netherland for a while now.