German leader says part of pipeline ready for Russia | Health, Medicine and Fitness
By GEIR MOULSON – Associated Press
BERLIN (AP) — German Chancellor Olaf Scholz inspected a turbine at the center of a natural gas dispute and said Wednesday that “there are no problems” blocking the part’s return to Russia in addition to the missing information from Russian state-controlled gas company.
The Kremlin insisted that more guarantees were needed.
Russian energy giant Gazprom last week halves the amount natural gas flowing through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline at 20% capacity, the latest cut he blamed delays in turbine delivery because of Western sanctions.
German partner Siemens Energy sent the turbine to Canada for overhaul, which was a routine process before Russia invaded Ukraine and has been subject to Western sanctions.
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The German government said the turbine was due to be installed in September and was not needed to run the pipeline now; he says Moscow is using bogus technical explanations as a cover for a political decision aimed at creating uncertainty and driving up gas prices.
The turbine is now stored at a Siemens Energy plant in Mulheim an der Ruhr, western Germany.
“This turbine is usable at any time,” said Scholz, standing next to the 18-tonne machinery. “Nothing stands in the way of its transport to Russia, except that the Russian consignees must say that they want to have the turbine and give the necessary information for customs transport to Russia.”
“All the other permits are there – that goes for the permit from Germany, the permit from the European Union, from the United Kingdom, from Canada,” the Chancellor added. “There is no problem.”
Gazprom’s repeated cuts in gas supplies to various countries have raised concerns that Russia could completely cut off supplies to try gain political influence in Europe.
German officials say Gazprom must specify where exactly the turbine should be sent. Scholz said he was publicly checking out the turbine to “demystify” it.
The Chancellor reiterated Germany’s insistence that “there is no technical reason for the reduction of gas deliveries via Nord Stream 1”.
He said the sanctions did not apply to gas used to power industry, heat homes and generate electricity.
Gazprom has repeatedly said it has pressed Siemens Energy for documents and clarifications. The company specifically wants documentation from Siemens Energy proving the turbine is not subject to Western sanctions, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
“We have to be sure that he is not under sanctions. We need to be sure that the UK Siemens subsidiary in charge will not switch it off remotely as part of the sanctions,” Peskov told reporters on a conference call.
Peskov said former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder asked Russian President Vladimir Putin at a recent meeting in Moscow whether the completed but not yet operational Nord Stream 2 pipeline could be put into operation in an emergency. to meet Europe’s energy needs.
Scholz’s government suspended the certification process for the new pipeline in February just before the invasion of Ukraine.
Putin said Nord Stream 2 could start operating but only at half capacity because Gazprom now uses the other half for the Russian domestic market, Peskov said.
Schroeder’s longstanding ties to Russia’s energy sector – including the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines – and his refusal to personally distance himself from Putin after the invasion of Ukraine are gone his political position at home tattered.
In an interview with Stern magazine and RTL television on Wednesday, Schroeder said using Nord Stream 2 would be the “simplest solution” in the event of a gas shortage.
Turning to Nord Stream 2 is a political non-starter for Scholz, who said “we ended the approval process for good reason.” He added that “there is enough capacity in Nord Stream 1” and that two other pipelines – one through Ukraine and the other through Belarus and Poland – are also available.
Kirsten Grieshaber in Berlin contributed to this report.
Follow AP’s coverage of the Russian-Ukrainian War at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine
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