Russian state-owned energy giant Gazprom has said that it is uncertain about the resumption of gas supply to Europe via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, which is under maintenance, reported Reuters.

Earlier this week, Gazprom assured gas supply from the pipeline if Canada returns the repaired pipeline equipment to the firm.

Canada then issued a ‘time-limited and revocable permit’ to return the equipment to Gazprom.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that the decision to return the pipeline to an operational phase would depend on Europe’s gas demand and sanctions by the Western nations against Russia.

Gazprom was cited by the news agency as saying that it could ‘not guarantee’ the safe operation of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline.

The comment comes despite Canada agreeing to allow the turbine to be returned for Nord Stream 1’s Portovaya compressor station in Russia.

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By GlobalData

Zakharova commented: “As far as the gas pipeline’s work in future is concerned, a lot will depend on our partners in terms of gas demand and illegitimate sanctions, as happened with the turbines in Canada.”

The pipeline’s annual maintenance, which is scheduled until 21 July 2022, triggered concerns for Germany and other European countries that worried Russia might extend the period to restrict gas supply to Europe to counter sanctions.

Last month, Gazprom reduced gas deliveries to Germany by 60% through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline.

In a separate announcement, the European Commission is planning to sign a gas deal with Azerbaijan to reduce dependence on Russian gas, reported Reuters, citing a draft document.

The document, seen by the news agency, read: “The sides aspire to support bilateral trade of natural gas, including through exports to the European Union, via the Southern Gas Corridor, of at least 20 billion cubic metres of gas annually by 2027, in accordance with commercial viability and market demand.”