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Russia Re-establishes Gas Supplies to Europe Via Nord Stream

Following a 10-day maintenance break, Russia has resumed gas supplies to Europe via its largest pipeline, Nord Stream 1.

On July 20, the European Commission urged countries to reduce their gas consumption by 15% over the next seven months in case Russia cut off Europe's supply. Last year, Russia supplied 40% of Europe's natural gas needs.

Germany was the continent's largest importer in 2020, but it has reduced its reliance on Russian gas from 55% to 35%. It eventually wants to stop using Russian gas entirely.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin has attempted to allay concerns by telling reporters that state-owned gas company Gazprom would fulfill all contractual obligations.

Russia's President, Vladimir Putin. PHOTO FILE

The pipeline reopened early Thursday morning, but a spokesman said it was only operating at 40% of its capacity.

This is the same level it was at in mid-June, when Gazprom cut gas flows, blaming a delay in the return of equipment being serviced by Siemens Energy in Germany.

As Europe swelters in a heatwave, ministers are acutely aware that the country does not currently have enough stored gas to last the winter.

Despite a pledge to phase out the fossil fuel, they are urging people to conserve energy, scrambling to secure supplies of liquefied natural gas from other countries, and even restarting old coal power plants.

Industry leaders have warned that a gas shortage, which could result in rationing, could trigger a recession.

That would please Vladimir Putin, who wishes to cause political and economic turmoil in the West.

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