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Germany is reported to be on edge as the largest single pipeline carrying Russian gas to the country is set to start a ten-day annual maintenance period, according to Reuters.

The Nord Stream I pipeline, which is designed to transport 55 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea each year, is due to undergo maintenance from 11 to 21 July.

The move has triggered concerns for Germany and other European nations over a possible extension of the Nord Stream I pipeline shutdown by Russia following Western sanctions on Moscow due to its invasion of Ukraine.

A possible extension of the 1,220km pipeline’s scheduled maintenance will further obstruct the supply of gas to Europe and increase gas prices.

The pipeline crosses the Exclusive Economic Zones of Russia, Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Germany, as well as the territorial waters of Denmark, Russia and Germany.

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Dutch Energy Minister Rob Jetten said: “If Nord Stream gets cut off, or if Germany loses all its Russian imports, then the effect will be felt on the whole of north-western Europe.”

Last month, Russia reduced gas flows through the Nord Stream I pipeline to 40%, citing the delayed return of equipment being serviced by Siemens Energy in Canada.

As a result, last week, Canada announced its decision to issue a ‘time-limited and revocable permit’ to return the equipment to Russia’s state-owned gas giant Gazprom.

This equipment is required for the maintenance work to be carried out at the Nord Stream I pipeline.

Ukraine opposed the decision by Canada, saying the move would violate sanctions imposed on Russia, as reported by Reuters.

Canada’s Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson was quoted by The Guardian as saying that its decision will help Europe ‘access reliable and affordable energy as they continue to transition away from Russian oil and gas’.