WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Moscow is using energy as a tool to pressure Europe, the White House said about the delayed return of Gazprom's Nord Stream 1 natural gas pipeline, as Europe gets closer to a ban on oil imports from Russia.
"It is unfortunately not surprising that Russia continues to use energy as a weapon against European consumers," a National Security Council spokesperson told Reuters in an email about the shutdown of the pipeline that sends gas to Europe.
Russia scrapped a Saturday deadline to resume flows on the line, deepening Europe's problems in securing fuel for the upcoming winter.
Gazprom, the state-controlled company with a monopoly on Russian gas exports via pipeline, said on Friday it could not safely restart deliveries to Europe until it had fixed an oil leak found in a vital turbine. It did not give a new time frame.
In punitive measures on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, the European Union expects to ban crude oil exports from Russia in early December and refined products two months later. On Friday, the Group of Seven formally agreed to impose a price cap on Russian oil, aimed at slashing revenues for Moscow's war while keeping oil flowing to global markets.
The NSC spokesperson said the United States and Europe have been collaborating to ensure sufficient supplies are available.
"As a result of these efforts, European gas storage will be full by the critical winter heating season," the spokesperson said. "These efforts alone will not suffice and we will continue to work together to address the concerning energy picture in Europe."
(Reporting by Timothy Gardner; Editing by Mark Porter and Richard Chang)