Friday, 19 August, 2022

US fears gas supply problems may undermine EU unity against Russia

NEW YORK: The administration of US President Joe Biden fears that the gas shortages caused by declining supplies from Russia may undermine the European Union’s unity against Moscow, reports CNN citing US officials.

According to one of the sources, US presidential coordinator for global energy Amos Hochstein has departed to Paris and Brussels to discuss US-European contingency planning in case of gas shortages in winter.

The impact on Europe could boomerang back onto the US, spiking natural gas and electricity prices, CNN reported with reference to an unnamed US official.

It will also be a major test of European resilience and unity against Russia. This week, Washington also intends to discuss with Europe ways of increasing nuclear power production.

In particular, the United States hopes to convince the German government to postpone its plans of phasing out the use of nuclear power and to extend the operation of its three nuclear power plants.

On Monday, Russia’s energy giant Gazprom announced that it had to suspend the operation of another Siemens-made turbine because it has reached its capital repair point.

This will result in the capacity of the Portovaya compressor station falling to almost half - from 67 to 33 million cubic meters a day. Russian President Vladimir Putin warned about that last week.

The Nord Stream pipeline has been operating at only 40pc capacity (67 million cubic meters a day) since mid-June due to delayed return of a Siemens turbine shipped for repairs to Canada.

Following numerous requests from Germany, Canada agreed to return the repaired turbine on July 9.

However, Gazprom says there are still unresolved issues regarding EU and UK sanctions, which must be resolved before the turbine could be shipped and installed in Russia and other turbines could be shipped for repairs.

The European Commission claims that EU sanctions against Russia do not cover equipment for gas transit.