The Nord Stream 1 pipeline is missing a turbine that's keeping natural-gas flows out of Russia slow, and Russia and Germany are caught in a blame game over it

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German Chancellor Olaf Scholz poses in front of a Siemens gas turbine intended for the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline in Russia at a Siemens Energy facility on August 03, 2022 in Muelheim an der Ruhr, Germany.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz viewed the repaired Siemens Energy turbine for Nord Stream 1 on Wednesday and said it's "ready for action at any time."Andreas Rentz/Getty Images
  • The Nord Stream 1 pipeline sends gas from Russia to Germany.

  • Gazprom said it's "impossible" to get a turbine for the pipeline back from repairs due to sanctions.

  • German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said "there is nothing preventing it from being transported to Russia."

The Nord Stream 1 pipeline is missing a key turbine that's keeping natural-gas flows from Russia to Europe slow, and Russia and Germany are caught in a blame game over the delay.

Gazprom has cut natural-gas flows via the Nord Stream 1 to Germany twice in the past two months. In June, Gazprom cut flows to about 40% of the pipeline's capacity, citing a turbine's hold-up in Canada as a result of war-related sanctions. In July, Gazprom again cut natural-gas flow to Germany, this time to just 20% of capacity, citing a second turbine that needed maintenance.

On July 10, Canada said it would waive sanctions and return the first repaired turbine to Russia to ensure continued gas flows in Europe. But, on July 13, Gazprom said it didn't have the required paperwork to get the equipment out of Canada.

The first turbine, manufactured by Siemens Energy, is now in Germany awaiting transportation to Russia. German Chancellor Olaf viewed the equipment in Germany on Wednesday and said it was "ready for action at any time," Bloomberg reported. "There is nothing preventing it from being transported to Russia," Scholz added.

Christian Bruch, the head of Siemens Energy, said Wednesday the company is discussing the issue with Gazprom and is keen to return the turbine, The New York Times reported.

But Russian state-energy giant Gazprom said Wednesday on Twitter that it's "impossible" to get the turbine back "due to the discrepancy between the current situation and the existing contractual obligations on the part of Siemens."

Also on Wednesday, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said the turbine's return to Russia is contingent upon documentation proving it isn't subject to sanctions, Reuters reported.

Europe depends on Russia for 40% of its natural-gas needs, such as cooking in homes and firing up power stations. It's fretting over a winter energy crisis because Russia has been slowing natural-gas flows to countries in the region as some buyers refused to pay in rubles, and on the back of the turbine drama.

German industry leaders have warned of severe economic hardship should Russian gas be cut completely. To save energy, Europe's largest economy has already started turning off some heating and lights in summer.

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