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Germany to Wait Until Early Next Week to Count Russia Gas Damage

·2-min read

(Bloomberg) -- Germany will wait at least until Monday to determine whether Russia has cut off gas supply through a key pipeline, a few days after maintenance is due to be completed.

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Work on the Nord Stream link is due to end Thursday but it would be too early to ascertain if shipments have fully halted, a person familiar with the process said on condition of anonymity. That would push back any policy move Berlin needs to tackle the crisis that has been building for weeks and is threatening the country’s economy.

Even before it was taken down for maintenance last week, the pipe had been operating at just 40% of its capacity after a turbine that was sent to Canada for repairs got stranded there because of sanctions on Russia. The Kommersant newspaper reported this week that the machinery was being flown back to Germany, and will be transported onward to Russia. A government official said it would take 5-10 days to reinstall it.

The disruption has created havoc in Berlin, and more widely in Europe, as nations rush to find alternative supply. Concerns are growing among policy makers that Moscow won’t resume shipments once the scheduled maintenance ends this week. A full cut-off could potentially reduce Germany’s economy by as much as 1.5% in a worst-case scenario.

Also see: European Commission Doesn’t Expect Russia to Restart Nord Stream

It’s currently unclear where the turbine is. Neither Siemens Energy AG, which manufactured the part and is responsible for repairs, nor the German government confirmed the Kommersant report.

Worries about the return of gas flows are building because Gazprom PJSC has also said other parts that are key for the resumption of full supplies also need maintenance. Germany has accused Russia of weaponizing gas supply, and said the stranded turbine was being used as an excuse to cut shipments.

“This turbine has only been used as a pretext all along,” Economy Ministry spokeswoman Beate Baron said Monday. “It’s a replacement turbine. Still, we will do everything to take this pretext away from” Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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