Russia started pumping gas to Europe through its Nord Stream 1 pipeline Thursday, relieving concerns in EU capitals. The resumption followed a 10-day maintenance-linked outage
Nord Stream 1 supplies were stopped for maintenance on July 11. The stoppage had come after Moscow cut supplies to 40 percent of the normal levels. This had created concerns in Germany and other huge consumers of Russian gas ahead of the winter.
Thursday's flows were back at that 40% capacity level, Nord Stream figures showed, a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that supplies could be cut further or even stop, Reuters reported.
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The resumption of Nord Stream supplies at levels that remain well below the pipeline's capacity means Germany, which is particularly reliant on Russian fuel, and other European economies are still struggling to find enough gas for winter.
"In view of the missing 60% and the political instability, there is no reason yet to give the all-clear," German network regulator president Klaus Mueller wrote on Twitter.
Gas Flows Via Other Pipeline Routes Have Also Fallen
Gas flows via other pipeline routes, such as Ukraine, have also fallen since Russia invaded its neighbour in February, in what Moscow calls a "special military operation".
Germany and several other states have already activated the first stages of emergency plans that in some cases could lead to rationing. Greece said on Thursday it would implement rotating power cuts as a last resort if necessary.
The EU aims to have gas storage facilities across the bloc 80% full by Nov. 1. Inventories are now about two-thirds full, with a slowing pace of refilling.
The German network regulator said Germany would struggle to reach its own target of 90% full by November without additional measures if Nord Stream deliveries remained low.
"Even at full flows, the European natural gas situation remains critical," said Peter McNally, an analyst at Third Bridge, adding Europe might only hit 70% storage capacity with Nord Stream at current reduced levels.
Gazprom, which has a monopoly on Russian gas exports by pipeline, did not respond to a request for comment.