Russia resumes gas flows via Nord Stream, Europe still wary

Russia resumed pumping gas via its biggest pipeline to Europe on Thursday after a 10-day outage, the operator said, allaying Europe’s immediate winter supply fears after President Vladimir Putin had warned that flows could be cut further or stopped.

Supplies via Nord Stream 1, which runs under the Baltic Sea to Germany, were halted for maintenance on July 11 but, even before that outage, flows had been cut to 40% of the pipeline’s capacity in a dispute prompted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Thursday’s flows were back at that 40% capacity level, Nord Stream figures showed.

The supply disruptions have hampered European efforts to refill gas storage for winter, raising the risk of rationing and another hit to fragile economic growth if Moscow further limits flow in retaliation for Western sanctions over the war in Ukraine.

“We are in process of resuming gas transportation. It can take a few hours to reach the nominated transport volumes,” a spokesperson for the pipeline operator told Reuters earlier.

Physical flows were at 29,289,682 kilowatts hour/hour between 0700 and 0800 GMT, the Nord Stream 1 website showed, returning to a pre-maintenance level of flows.

Klaus Mueller, president of Germany’s network regulator, said the resumption of flows back to 40% capacity was not a sign tensions were easing. “The political uncertainty and the 60% cut from mid-June unfortunately remain,” he said on Twitter.

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