Russia has announced that it is willing to supply gas to Europe through the one intact part of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, but Germany has rejected the offer. Germany has said that Russia’s offer is a “nice try”, but that they are not interested in using the pipeline. The German government has said that they do not want to be dependent on Russia for their energy needs. This comes as a blow to Russia, who had hoped to use the Nord Stream 2 pipeline to increase its influence in Europe. The pipeline was meant to provide a direct route for Russian gas to Europe, bypassing Ukraine.
Russian President Vladimir Putin stated Wednesday that Moscow was ready to resume gas supply via one link from the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which is still operational. Germany quickly turned down the offer, according to the news agency Associated Press.
Late September saw the destruction of the Russian Nord Stream pipeline network. Both the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipelines were blown apart by the explosions. These explosions caused massive gas leakage, resulting in their removal from service.
Putin stated that gas could still be delivered via the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, but it was up to the European Union to decide if it wanted it. Its annual capacity is 27 billion cubic meters, he said.
He stated that he would not supply energy to countries that have set prices. He added, “I would like to warn those who, instead of business partnerships and market mechanisms, try to use con trickery and blunt blackmail to get their way, that we won’t do anything to your detriment.”
German officials claimed Russia halted supplies through Nord Stream 1 to play politics and questioned why Nord Stream 2 was more reliable.
Christiane Hoffmann, a spokesperson for the German government, stated that “Independently from the possible sabotage, the two pipelines, have we seen that Russia no longer is a reliable energy supplier and that even prior to the damage to Nord Stream 1, there was no longer any gasoline flowing.”
She said that Putin’s comments were “nice try.”
Germany had already frozen Nord Stream 2 days before Russia sent troops to Ukraine. A spokesperson for the German government also said that Germany would not be taking gas via this route.
Reuters reported that Putin had previously suggested the idea of creating a European alternative gas hub through Turkey.
Putin spoke at an energy forum in Russia and stated that “We could move the volumes along the Nord Streams from the Baltic Sea bottom to the Black Sea Region and so make the main routes to supply our fuel, our oil, to Europe through Turkey.”
Although Russia continues to pump gas via Ukraine to Europe, the explosions at the Baltic pipelines have worsened the energy crisis Europe faced before the winter season.
Prices rose due to a plunge in Russian gas supplies, driving inflation. Governments were pressured to ease the pain of skyrocketing energy bills for businesses and households. This also raised fears of rationing or recession.
AP reported however that Europe was able to fill its gas storage to 90% for winter thanks to securing additional supplies. Although natural gas prices are now 80 percent lower than last year, they have dropped significantly from August peak levels.
Nord Stream 2 pipeline
Because Germany stopped the flow of natural gas from Europe via Nord Stream 2, it has not brought any to Europe. This was just before Russia launched military actions in Ukraine on February 24, 2014.
Russia had shut down the Nord Stream 1 parallel pipeline in the middle of an energy dispute with Europe before the explosions. Russia claimed that the blockage was due to technical issues, but European leaders claim it was an attempt to split them in response to their support for Ukraine.