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Russia’s Gazprom cuts gas supply to Italy

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The Local/AFP - [email protected]
Russia’s Gazprom cuts gas supply to Italy
Russia's energy giant Gazprom cut supplies to Italy by more than a quarter on Wednesday and will reportedly halt all deliveries to some EU countries. Photo by Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP

Italian energy giant Eni said Russia had delivered less gas than usual on Wednesday after the closure of a major pipeline, in the latest interruption to European energy supplies.

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The amount of gas delivered to Italy from Russia dropped by 26 percent following the closure of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, Italy’s main energy provider Eni confirmed.

“Gazprom has announced that today it will deliver a volume of gas equal to about 20 million cubic metres,” down from daily deliveries of around 27 million cubic metres, Eni said in a statement on Wednesday morning.

Gazprom reportedly suspended gas deliveries to Germany on Wednesday, and also said it would halt supplies to France's main provider Engie from Thursday after it failed to pay for all deliveries made in July.

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Gazprom said supplies via Nord Stream 1 were “completely stopped” for “preventative work” at a compressor unit, AFP reported, shortly after the pipeline’s operator, ENTSOG, announced that deliveries had halted.

The move came as European countries faced soaring energy prices, with costs rising sharply across the region following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February.

READ ALSO: Italy to bring in new aid measures as energy prices soar

Italian government ministers had not commented on the latest cut on Wednesday morning, though Prime Minister Mario Draghi has previously said Russia's reasons for cutting gas deliveries were "lies".

Germany, which is also heavily dependent on Russian gas, also accused Moscow of using energy as a “weapon”.

But Gazprom said three days of maintenance work were “necessary” and had to be carried out after “every 1,000 hours of operation”.

The logo of Russia's energy giant Gazprom is pictured at one of its petrol stations in Sofia in 2022. (Photo by Nikolay DOYCHINOV / AFP)

With winter around the corner, European consumers are staring down the barrel of huge power bills.

Italy’s outgoing government was on Wednesday reportedly finalising plans to bring forward new energy-saving measures amid concerns about energy security due to repeated interruptions to the gas supply from Russia.

Italy is one of Europe’s biggest consumers of gas, which currently represents 42 percent of its energy consumption, and it imports 95 percent of the gas it uses.

READ ALSO: Energy crisis pushes nuclear comeback in Europe

Draghi’s government has been working to lessen the country’s reliance on Russian gas, with ministers predicting Italy will be “independent” from Russia’s gas supply by the middle of 2023.

The European Union is meanwhile preparing to take emergency action to reform the electricity market in order to bring prices under control, with energy ministers scheduled to hold talks next week.

Asked if gas supplies would resume after the three-day works were completed on Saturday, Russian government spokesman Dmitry Peskov said “there is a guarantee that, apart from technical problems caused by sanctions, nothing interferes with supplies”.

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