The Curious Incident of the Nord Stream Gas Turbine
A sharp decline in gas flows on Nord Stream to Europe began on June 14, following the news that a gas turbine was “stuck” in Canada for maintenance as a result of western sanctions on Russia, and because further compressors at the Portovaya compressor station were also taken offline. There has been much commentary that this is all part of Russia’s plan to further squeeze the European gas market. But the technical and legal issues are very complex, and must be taken into account. As Nord Stream’s regular annual maintenance period ends on July 21, flows on Nord Stream are a key question. This comment addresses a number of these technical and legal aspects: At what level, if any, will flows return to? When will the roaming gas turbine return to Russia? Will other gas turbines head to Canada for major overhaul and when might they return? How many operational turbines are needed for maximum flows? Gazprom has somewhat belatedly called force majeure on the Nord Stream flows. What impact will this have and when might it end?