- Russia is set to seal up the damaged Nord Stream pipelines to Europe as there are no plans to repair them, Reuters reported.
- It’s a sign Moscow has given up on Europe as a key buyer of its gas in the face of strong Asian demand.
- “Unless the war ends, there’s no reason to start repairing them – literally anytime there might be a repetition of the entire thing,” a Kpler analyst told Insider.
Russia is set to mothball the damaged Nord Stream pipelines to Europe as it doesn’t plan to repair them, according to Reuters.
The new development is a sign Moscow has given up on Europe as its key gas market, with the country now leaning heavily on buyers from Asia.
“Unless the war ends, there’s no reason to start repairing them – literally anytime there might be a repetition of the entire thing,” Kpler analyst Viktor Katona told Insider, adding there’s “not a healthy atmosphere around Nord Stream.”
Last September, explosions ruptured the Nord Stream pipelines and set the Baltic sea boiling with leaking methane gas. It disrupted the supply of Russian gas to the continent and exacerbated a crippling energy crisis, given Moscow typically supplied about 40% of Europe’s natural gas.
Immediately after the catastrophe, US and European officials blamed Russia for a committing “gross sabotage.” But Russia claims it didn’t destroy the gas pipelines, and recently demanded the US to prove Washington wasn’t involved in the incident following a scathing report.
Russia’s state-owned energy giant Gazprom has said it is technically possible to restore the blown-up pipelines but that there’s no point in doing so – as Moscow sees little hope of mending relations with the West after it slapped the country with harsh sanctions following its invasion of Ukraine, two sources close to the matter told Reuters.
After Europe shunned Russia’s energy exports, Moscow has turned to Asia as it scrambled to find new buyers. Since the war broke out, China has emerged as a leading buyer of Russian oil and gas, securing the commodities at steep discounts.
“Another point – Gazprom is now pouring money into the Power of Siberia-2 pipeline, effectively a replica of Nord Stream 2 with the difference that it’s going into China. That project is priority number one for them, so if they can choose where they’d invest the money, they’d naturally gravitate towards the safer option,” Katona said.