Scholz 'calls Putin's bluff' over turbine at centre of gas dispute with Russia

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz inspected a mechanical turbine on the centre of a natural gas dispute and declared on Wednesday that “there aren’t any problems” with the part besides information from Russia’s state-controlled gas company.

Russian energy giant Gazprom last week halved the quantity of natural gas flowing through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to twenty% of capability, citing delays with the turbine’s repair and delivery. But Scholz insisted the needed part is able to be shipped to Russia at any time.

German partner Siemens Energy earlier this yr sent the turbine to Canada for an overhaul. The German government says the finished piece was meant to be installed in September and alleges that Moscow is using misleading technical explanations in a political ploy and to push up gas prices.

The turbine is now stored at a Siemens Energy facility in Germany’s western city of Mülheim an der Ruhr.

“This thing is ideal. Its installation might be done immediately,” Scholz said while standing in front of the massive piece of machinery.

“It’s here. It’s able to go. And by the best way, on this planet we live in today, it’s a quite simple thing to move it. It’s only a matter of claiming, ‘Please send it.’”

“This turbine is usable any time,” he said.

“There may be nothing standing in the best way of its transport on to Russia — aside from that the Russian recipients must say that they need to have the turbine, and provides the crucial information for the customs transport to Russia,” the chancellor continued.

“All other permits are there — that goes for the permit from Germany, the permit from the European Union, from the UK, from Canada. There aren’t any problems.”

His spokesman, Sebastian Fischer, said that with this statement, Scholz “calls Putin’s bluff”.

Gazprom has repeatedly said it pressed Siemens Energy for documents and clarification and said every week ago that it wasn’t satisfied with the documents it had received.

Gazprom’s repeated reductions of gas deliveries have raised fears that Russia may cut off supplies to try to achieve political leverage over Europe, which has imposed wide-ranging sanctions against Russia over the war in Ukraine.

Scholz noted the EU sanctions don’t apply to the gas used to power industry, heat homes and generate electricity.


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