August 12, 2022

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“Force Majeure” is behind the curtailment of gas exports

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Russian gas giant Gazprom has cut gas supplies to Europe due to what it described as “force majeure”, two of its key German customers said on Tuesday, raising fears of further unrest.

Uniper, one of the largest importers of Russian gas in Germany, said, “We can confirm that we have received a letter from Gazprom Export regarding force majeure (due to) the shortfall in gas supplies in the past and present. .

German group RWE also told AFP it had received a similar letter from Gazprom, but declined to comment further.
Force majeure is a legal practice that allows companies to waive their obligations under contracts in light of circumstances beyond their control.

“We do not believe this is justified and we have officially rejected the allegations of coercion,” a Uniber spokesman told AFP.

Bloomberg News reported that Gazprom’s letter was dated July 14 and the force majeure claim was invoked a month earlier.

Gazprom has cut gas supplies to Germany via Nord Stream 1 by about 60 percent in recent weeks, citing Siemens gas turbine maintenance in Canada.

German media reported that the repaired turbine was believed to be heading for Russia.

The German government has rejected Gazprom’s explanation for the turbine and believes Russia is cutting supplies in response to Western sanctions imposed on Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.

The Nord Stream 1 pipeline to the bottom of the Black Sea has been closed since July 11 for maintenance work.

It is scheduled to reopen at 04:00 GMT next Thursday, but Germany fears Russia will use the shutdown to plunge the continent into an energy crisis.

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