Russia is considering suspending the ruptured undersea Nord Stream gas pipelines due to no immediate plans to repair or reactivate them, reported Reuters, citing sources familiar with the plans.
Built by Russia’s state-controlled Gazprom, the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipelines, each comprising two pipes, are designed to supply 110 billion cubic metres (bcm) of natural gas per year to Germany under the Baltic Sea.
In September 2022, three of the pipes were ruptured following ‘unexplained’ blasts.
However, the restoration plan for the Nord Stream 1 pipeline came to a standstill due to escalating tensions between Russia and Western countries over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
Although state-controlled Gazprom said the ruptured lines can be technically repaired, two sources familiar with the plans said that Russia believes its relationships with Western countries are not likely to improve enough for the pipelines to be needed.
Another source familiar with matter said the stakeholders are considering conserving the pipelines, which involves sealing the pipelines’ ruptured ends and coating them to prevent further corrosion. This would allow the pipes to be reactivated in the future.
A spokesperson for Germany’s Eon, which holds a stake in Nord Stream 1 pipeline operator Nord Stream AG, was quoted by Reuters as saying: “To our knowledge as a minority shareholder, no decision has been made, either for or against restoring the line.”
Currently, Russia is exporting approximately 40 million cubic metres per day of pipeline gas to Europe.
Since late August 2022, Nord Stream 1 had been idle following its closure for maintenance. It has not been restarted due disagreements between Russia and the West over its pumping turbine’s servicing due to Western sanctions.
The Nord Stream 2 project, which was completed in September 2021, was suspended by Germany’s regulators days before Moscow started the war against Ukraine.