Germany’s Scholz says Russia has no reason to delay the return of the turbine

  • Turbine caught in energy conflict between West, Russia
  • Scholz visits Siemens Energy factory where turbine is stored
  • Says turbine ready to be shipped back to Russia
  • Kremlin: Documentation on turbines still missing
  • Kremlin: Nord Stream 2 could supply gas this year

MUELHEIM AN DER RUHR, Germany, Aug. 3 (Reuters) – German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Wednesday that Russia had no reason to cancel the return of a gas turbine for the Nord Stream 1 pipeline that had been serviced in Canada but has since been stranded. set in Germany in an escalating energy deadlock.

Standing next to the turbine during a factory visit to Siemens Energy (ENR1n.DE) in Mülheim an der Ruhr, Scholz said it was fully operational and could be shipped back to Russia at any time – provided Moscow was willing to return it. to take.

The fate of the 12-metre (13-yard) long turbine has been closely watched as European governments accused Russia of cutting off gas under false pretenses in revenge for Western sanctions following the February invasion of Ukraine.

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Moscow denies this, citing problems with the turbine as the reason for lower gas flows through Nord Stream 1, which have been reduced to 20% of capacity.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov opposed Scholz’s comments on Wednesday, accusing a lack of documentation for stopping the turbine’s return to Russia.

He also dangled the prospect of Europe receiving gas through the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, a Moscow-led project that was blocked by the West when Russia sent troops into Ukraine. read more

The turbine’s movements were shrouded in secrecy and its whereabouts were unknown until Tuesday evening, when the chancellor’s visit to Siemens Energy was announced.

“The turbine works,” said Scholz, who told reporters that the purpose of his visit was to show the world that the turbine was working and “there was nothing mystical to observe here.”

“It’s very clear and simple: the turbine is there and it can be delivered, but someone has to say ‘I want it'”.

For Canadian Secretary of State Melanie Joly, whose government has been criticized for returning the turbine in defiance of its own sanctions, the current standoff was worth seeing as an illustration of the Kremlin’s purpose.

“We called his bluff,” she said during a meeting with her German counterpart Annalena Baerbock in Montreal. “It is now clear that Putin is arming the energy flows through Europe.”

Even if Russia took back the turbine, Scholz warned that Germany could face more disruptions later and that supply contracts may not be met.

He also said it “may make sense” for Germany to run its three remaining nuclear power plants after a planned shutdown at the end of 2022, a policy turnaround that has been supported given the risk of a total shutdown of Russian gas. in the winter.

STAND TOGETHER

A senior manager of Kremlin-controlled Gazprom (GAZP.MM) has said that the delivery of the turbine after maintenance was not in accordance with the contract and that it was sent to Germany without Russia’s permission. read more

In addition to Scholz, Siemens Energy CEO Christian Bruch confirmed that there were ongoing talks with Gazprom, “but no agreement”.

Collapsing gas supplies and skyrocketing prices have sparked recession warnings for the German economy, Europe’s largest, and have fueled fears of energy shortages and winter rationing.

After being forced to bail out utility company Uniper (UN01.DE) when it became an early victim of the gas crisis, Scholz’s government will have to amend recently introduced energy reforms, sources told Reuters on Wednesday. read more

Scholz has called on Germans to guard against rising bills and his government has urged them to conserve energy where possible, such as shorter showers.

“Now is a moment when we as a country have to stand together. But it is also a moment when we can show what we are capable of,” he said.

But he chose not to answer questions about his Social Democratic predecessor, former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, who is increasingly mocked in Germany for his pro-Russian views and friendship with President Vladimir Putin.

Schroeder said Russia was ready for a negotiated settlement to end the war in an interview published Wednesday, after traveling to Russia last week to meet Putin. read more

Putin told Schroeder that Nord Stream 2 could supply Europe with 27 billion cubic meters of gas by the end of the year if it were allowed to work, Peskov said.

“Putin explained everything in detail and the former chancellor asked if it was possible to use Nord Stream 2 in a critical situation,” Peskov said. “Putin was not the initiator, Putin did not offer to turn it on, but Putin said it is technologically possible and this complex mechanism is ready for immediate use.”

Scholz indicated that Nord Stream 2 would not be used as an alternative. “We ended the approval process for good reason,” Scholz said. “There is sufficient capacity on Nord Stream 1, there is no shortage.”

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Reporting by Christoph Steitz in Muehlheim, Allison Lampert in Montreal and Ismail Shakil in Ottawa, written by Kirsti Knolle and Matthias Williams Edited by Madeline Chambers, Elaine Hardcastle and David Evans

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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