Jun 22, 2022
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Nord Stream will force Europe and Canada to go against the United States

Canada, in a dispute with Germany, stated the importance of maintaining sanctions against Russia amid problems with a gas turbine for Nord Stream. And while Ottawa promises to discuss with Berlin “different options” for solving the problem, Germany itself has already announced an energy crisis in the country. How will Berlin resolve the gas turbine conflict with Ottawa?

Canadian Minister of Natural Resources Jonathan Wilkinson said that in the context of problems with equipment for the Nord Stream gas pipeline, which is under repair in Canada, it is “important to respect the sanctions” against Russia. Wilkinson said his country was “in talks with Germany”.

He assured that Ottawa “may consider different options” to resolve the problem. It is emphasized that “the purpose of the sanctions was never to cause significant harm to Germany.” Wilkinson stated that Germany “is one of Canada’s closest friends and allies”. “So we are very busy with this problem,” Bloomberg quoted him as saying.

Recall that Germany faced an energy crisis – Russian gas supplies via Nord Stream 1 decreased by 60%, since one of the gas turbines for Nord Stream, after being repaired, could not be returned to Germany from Montreal due to Canada’s sanctions against Russia. We previously wrote about the consequences of the refusal of the US and Canada to service Russian gas turbines, but now this issue goes beyond just economics and becomes political.

The consequences of this problem will be deplorable for both sides – both for Russia and for Europe. The cost of gas in Europe at hubs has already gone up. And stopping Nord Stream 1 will make gas sky-high. This threatens, first of all, with a stoppage of European industry.

And if the situation is not resolved by the heating season, then the European population will also be under the threat of freezing. On the other hand, such an energy crisis due to the shutdown of Nord Stream 1 could in an unexpected way give Nord Stream 2 a green light. For this gas pipeline to work, something really terrible must happen.

“In any case, the mediator in relations between Canada and Germany will be the United States. The fact is that it is Washington that is the main initiator of any restrictions against Russia. They are trying to somehow model the situation inside this loose Western bloc, which is waging an economic struggle with Moscow,” says Americanist political scientist Malek Dudakov.

“Europe has repeatedly shown that it is ready to give up sanctions in its own interests. Not so long ago, we heard the statement of European bureaucrats and Josep Borrell that in case of difficulties, EU countries can be allowed to do some business with Russia in circumvention of sanctions. And now they will try to persuade Canada to help with the supply of gas turbine equipment. Another thing is that the last word will still be with the States, ”the interlocutor explained.

“Biden, for now, will take a wait-and-see attitude to see how the situation in the energy market will develop. If Europe really finds itself in a situation of acute shortage of fuel and the inability to fill storage before winter, then he will allow the supply of equipment – and Ottawa will receive a corresponding message. If it turns out that they can make up for the shortage of Russian gas at the expense of other states, such as Algeria or Azerbaijan, then the turbines will remain in Canada,” Dudakov argues.

“Preparations for the next heating season are already underway. And whether Europe will be able to fill the vaults will become clear in a couple of months. In general, Canada and Germany are NATO allies. And they don’t actually have significant bilateral relations outside of the alliance. So there is no need to talk about levers of pressure from Berlin, ”concluded the interlocutor.

“Gas turbines installed at Nord Stream are forced to be sent for repair and maintenance to Canada. The fact is that this equipment was produced there,” said Igor Yushkov, an expert at the Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation and the National Energy Security Fund.

According to the interlocutor, “the complexity of this story lies in the sanctions that the Canadians had previously imposed.” “Siemens has enterprises in different countries, but it is the Canadian plant that is conditionally “native” for the turbine. And the problem is that the Canadian authorities have forbidden the return of Siemens equipment, because the company will take it to Russia. And because of the restrictions imposed by Ottawa, this cannot be done, ”the expert explained.

“So far, Siemens has not said whether it can repair this type of turbine at another plant, or at least carry out preventive maintenance. This is probably due to the fact that the company itself does not really understand how to act and what is allowed, given the huge number of sanctions, ”says Yushkov.

He also noted that Siemens will have to face a number of difficulties. “Here we see not only technical, but also legal subtleties. The other plant must have a specific license to operate the turbine. Moreover, there are already concluded contracts with which we will also have to work. You can’t just take a turbine and take it for maintenance to another company. The necessary equipment may simply not be there, ”the expert emphasized.

“It seems to me that Germany will exert pressure not only in bilateral contact with Canada, but will also try to involve the entire European Union in this. The less gas is supplied via Nord Stream, the more problems arise for Germany, France, and indeed for the whole of Europe,” Yushkov said.

“Gas shortages traditionally lead to higher fuel prices, so everyone is interested in seeing as much gas as possible from Russia. It’s not just Canadians setting up the Germans. They create problems for all Europeans,” the interlocutor stressed.

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