The head of the Russian state energy giant Gazprom said it was “our product, our rules” after the company halved its supplies to Germany.
Germany’s economy minister has accused Gazprom of trying to raise energy prices by cutting supplies sharply. But the company said the cut in deliveries was due to the delayed return of equipment serviced by Germany’s Siemens Energy to Canada.
Italy and Austria also saw large declines in Russian gas supplies. The Kremlin has said this was not intentional.
“Our product, our rules. We do not play by rules we have not created,” Miller said during a panel discussion at the International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg.
He says he sees no solution to the problem with the equipment of the Portovaya compressor station, part of the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline, which carries Russian gas to Germany. Miller blamed sanctions for blocking the arrival of the equipment – a claim that Germany dismissed as “unfounded”.
Meanwhile, Italian energy giant Eni said it would receive only 65% of the gas requested by Gazprom on Thursday because of problems in Portovaya. But the Italian government has all possible countermeasures if cuts in gas supplies from Russia continue in the coming days, the country’s environment transition minister said on Thursday.
“The gas situation is under control, we are monitoring the flows day and night, the damage is limited so far,” said Roberto Chingolani.
European energy companies, including Italy’s ENI, Austria’s OMV and Germany’s Uniper, reported significant declines in Russian gas supplies on Wednesday and Thursday.
Gazprom cut gas supplies to Italy by about 15% on Wednesday, ENI reported. Italy, like Germany, is heavily dependent on Russian gas, which accounts for 40% of its imports.
Supplies to Poland, Bulgaria, Finland, Denmark and the Netherlands have already been suspended after refusing a request from “unfriendly countries” to pay in Russian rubles.
Russia’s demand for payment is seen as an attempt to raise the ruble after it was affected by Western sanctions. Higher demand for ruble currency is likely to increase demand and increase the value of the currency.
Gazprom blames repair work to reduce gas supplies to Germany’s Nord Stream 1 pipeline to 40% of its normal capacity.
But few in Germany believe in the Russian company.
Least of all Robert Habeck, Minister of Economy and Climate Change. According to him, this is a political decision. It is likely to coincide with Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s visit to Ukraine (Gazprom announced on Tuesday that it would cut supplies, then announced a further cut on Wednesday).
This is a warning sign, said the president of the Federal Grid Agency, which is responsible for Germany’s energy infrastructure. Klaus Mueller accused Russia of trying to spread uncertainty and raise the price of gas.
The government has called on people and businesses to save energy, but says there is currently a shortage of supplies. There is no sense of panic in Germany: it is still summer and most newspapers are busy reporting on the upcoming heat wave this weekend. However, the agency warns that if reduced gas supplies continue, Germany will have a problem. Tanks must be filled before winter.
And there is no doubt that this move has worried Berlin. Germany remains heavily dependent on Russian gas, and although it is speculated that Vladimir Putin will not want to go without revenue, Mueller says Russia cannot suspend supplies.