Germany expects Canada to release a key part of the Russian pipeline taken under sanctions, a move that Berlin and Moscow say could ease pressure on gas flows to Europe.
According to a person familiar with the situation, Germany expects Canada to return the turbine soon. A German government spokesman told reporters on Friday that there were “positive signals from Canada”, although he could not yet confirm the game was on the way.
The release of the turbine could potentially defuse the gas standoff between Russia and Germany – and help boost flows that have been drastically reduced for weeks. German Economy Minister Robert Habeck has pleaded with Canada to do so as it tries to avoid the prospect of energy rationing in Europe’s biggest economy this winter.
Gas prices in Europe fell by around 6%.
The Kremlin said Friday that if the Nord Stream turbine is fired, gas flows to Europe could increase. The part will be sent first to Germany, then to Russia, according to a German official.
Canadian officials declined to comment directly on news of the potential shipment. Instead, they pointed to an earlier statement from the office of Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson that Canada would continue to punish Russia for President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine while also working to help stabilize Europe’s energy supply.
The turbine, built in Canada by Siemens Energy AG, was sent to Montreal for repairs but became stranded due to sanctions against Russia’s oil and gas industry unveiled last month. Habeck offered a workaround whereby the part would first be delivered to Germany and then from there to Russia. Siemens Energy declined to comment.
Habeck told Bloomberg earlier this week that the turbine must be returned before maintenance work begins on Monday. He said it would remove an excuse for Putin to keep the conduit closed.
Europe is facing its biggest energy crisis in decades, with Russia’s main supplier limiting gas shipments in retaliation for Europe’s sanctions and military support for Ukraine. Russia cut flows to Germany shortly after the side was caught up in sanctions, with Nord Stream carrying just 40% of usual volumes.
Germany – which had to end decades of Russia-dependent energy policy since the war – is now bracing for Moscow to tighten flows further, and even the prospect of Nord Stream never coming back online after the war. maintenance.
Returning the coin could be politically controversial for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government, as the Ukrainian diaspora in Canada is the largest in the world outside of Russia. The Ukrainian community in Canada responded to Habeck’s call this week with an open letter to Trudeau urging him not to publish it.
In an attempt to assuage any potential anger over the decision, Habeck promised to travel to Ukraine with a German trade delegation as soon as possible to support the country’s reconstruction.
“We fully recognize the suffering of the Ukrainian people caused by Russia and remain fully committed to supporting Ukraine in its fight against Russia and in rebuilding the country,” Habeck told Bloomberg. “Therefore, I plan to visit Ukraine with a trade delegation as soon as possible.”
–With help from Michael Nienaber, Elena Mazneva, Daryna Krasnolutska, Wilfried Eckl-Dorna and Brian Platt.