Russia’s Gazprom said on Saturday Siemens was ready to carry out repairs on the Nord Stream 1 pipeline but there was nowhere available to carry out the work, a suggestion Siemens denied and said it had not been asked to do the job.
Gazprom’s statement came a day after it said it would not resume gas supply to Germany via Nord Stream 1 until an oil leak it said it had detected in a turbine was fixed. It said the repairs could only be carried out at a specially fitted workshop.
The Kremlin has blamed Western sanctions for disrupting Nord Stream 1 and putting barriers in the way of routine maintenance work. Western officials have rejected this claim and Siemens Energy said sanctions do not prohibit maintenance.
Before the latest round of maintenance, Gazprom had already cut flows to just 20% of the pipeline’s capacity.
“Siemens is taking part in repair work in accordance with the current contract, is detecting malfunctions … and is ready to fix the oil leaks. Only there is nowhere to do the repair,” Gazprom said in a statement on its Telegram channel on Saturday.
Siemens Energy said it had not been commissioned to carry out the work but was available, adding that the Gazprom reported leak did not normally affect the operation of a turbine and could be sealed on site.
“Irrespective of this, we have already pointed out several times that there are enough additional turbines available in the Portovaya compressor station for Nord Stream 1 to operate,” a spokesperson for the company said.
Flows through Nord Stream 1 were due to resume early on Saturday morning. But hours before it was set to start pumping gas, Gazprom published a photo on Friday of what it said was an oil leak on a piece of Nord Stream 1 equipment.
Siemens Energy, which supplies and maintains equipment at Nord Stream 1’s Portovaya compressor station said on Friday the leak did not constitute a technical reason to stop gas flows.
Europe has accused Russia of using gas supplies as a weapon in what Moscow has called an “economic war” with the West over the fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Asked about the halt on Saturday, Economic Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni said the European Union expects Russia to respect energy contracts it has agreed but was prepared to meet the challenge if Moscow fails to do so.
German network regulator said the country’s gas supply was currently guaranteed but the situation was tense and further deterioration could not be ruled out.
“The defects alleged by the Russian side are not a technical reason for the halt of operations,” the Federal Network Agency said in its daily gas situation report.