Russia’s decision to suspend gas glows through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, putting further pressure on Europe’s energy supplies, was swiftly met with criticism from several ministries and officials across the continent.
The announcement from state-owned Gazprom it was again shutting down Nord Stream 1 came under “under fallacious pretences” and was “another confirmation of its unreliability as a supplier,” Eric Mamer, the European Commission’s chief spokesman, wrote on Twitter.
Gazprom’s announcement this afternoon that it is once again shutting down NorthStream1 under fallacious pretenses is another confirmation of its unreliability as a supplier.
It’s also proof of Russia’s cynicism, as it prefers to flare gas instead of honoring contracts.
— Eric Mamer (@MamerEric) September 2, 2022
Mamer said Gazprom’s actions proved the “wisdom” of the EU’s earlier decisions to build up store gas ahead of the winter, as well as its plans for a 15 per cent reduction in gas demand and to efforts to accelerate the installation of renewable power capacity in the union.
“There is no need to change tack; we should stay the course and intensify our efforts,” Mamer said.
EU energy ministers are already scheduled to meet in an emergency session in Brussels next Friday.
Having also observed Russia’s “unreliability” as a supplier, a representative for the German economic ministry said the country was better prepared than a few months ago to increase its independence from Russian energy imports.
“We will reach our target of getting [storage facilities] 85 per cent full by October already in the first few days of September,” the representative continued. “We are also making good progress in finding alternative supply routes to the Russian ones and building import capacities for LNG.”
A top energy official in Ukraine said Gazprom’s decision to keep the Nord Stream gas pipeline shut was not unexpected.
“EU gas blackmail is intensifying,” said Serhiy Makogon, chief executive of Ukraine’s gas transportation pipeline operator.
“The Ukrainian route is the only gas transit route to western Europe that is still operating” and there were no signs that Gazprom planned on increasing flow despite only 40 per cent of reserved capacity being used, Makagon said.