Gas flows to Europe via Yamal pipeline halted again after short resumption

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Natural gas supplies from Poland to Germany via the Russian Yamal-Europe pipeline were suspended again on Wednesday morning after a tentative resumption, data from the German network operator Gascade showed.

Russian commodity supplies have been under a spotlight amid Moscow’s standoff with the West over Ukraine and fears that Russia could invade the former Soviet republic, which is seeking closer ties with the NATO alliance.

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A trickle of gas flows had resumed on Wednesday morning from Poland to Germany via the Russian Yamal-Europe pipeline, after it had been switched to a reverse mode in December.

The data showed preliminary gas flows of just 16,318 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per hour, compared to 16.2 million kWh booked by Gazprom at a daily auction.

After around one hour, the flows were reduced to zero again.

Nor have there been any eastbound supplies, from Germany to Poland, since Tuesday evening.

Westbound gas flows had been expected to resume after Russian gas giant Gazprom booked transit capacity on Tuesday, restoring the normal flows after December’s reversal pushed Europe’s gas prices to all-time highs.

Gazprom booked transit capacity for eight hours on the pipeline, starting from 2100 GMT on Tuesday, data at the booking platform showed. The firm has not booked monthly transit capacity via the pipeline for February.

Such capacity can be booked via daily auctions.

The pipeline usually makes up about a sixth of Russia’s annual gas exports to Europe and Turkey. It has been operating in reverse since December 21, when European benchmark gas prices jumped to a record 184.95 euros per megawatt hours (MWh).

High prices have discouraged purchases of spot volumes from Russia, with buyers instead tapping stored gas in Europe, where storage levels have fallen below their five-year average.

Capacity nominations for supply to Slovakia from Ukraine via the Velke Kapusany border point, another major route for Russian gas deliveries to Europe, eased on Wednesday after hitting their highest point in 2022 on Tuesday.

Nominations were seen at 671,797 MWh, down from revised levels of 850,143 MWh on Tuesday.

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