Come Monday, Europe’s key gas pipeline Nord Stream 1 will be shut down for 10 days for maintenance at a time when the continent is already reeling under shortage. The stringent sanctions thrashed out against Russia by the US and EU have hit energy supplies to several countries in Europe. Nord Stream 1 and 2 are natural gas pipelines, running through the Baltic Sea that are critical for securing energy security in Europe.
“From 11 to 21 July 2022, Nord Stream AG will temporarily shut down both lines of its gas pipeline system for routine maintenance works inclusive testing of mechanical elements and automation systems for ensuring reliable, safe, and efficient pipeline operations,” a statement issued said.
The bigger worry for these countries is that even after July 21, Nord Stream 1 may not operate on full capacity and this will be a serious cause for concern, threatening the bloc's objectives to fill up storage capacity before winter.
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The energy crisis has particularly hit Germany, Europe’s biggest economy. According to a report in Fortune, last year, Germany relied on Russia for 55% of its natural gas imports. Though it has now reduced to 35 per cent, the country is now staring at a crisis like situation.
The crisis is so grave that cities in Germany are looking at rationing hot water. Citizens are being prepared to get hot water only during stipulated times. Hamburg for example has said that “warm water could only be made available at certain times of the day in an emergency.”
The shutting down of Nord Stream 1 will further aggravate the problem.
About 40 per cent of Europe’s energy needs were being sourced from Russia prior to Moscow’s Ukraine invasion.