Moscow’s state-run energy giant Gazprom claimed it had found an oil leak at a gas turbine during “maintenance”. The move came as the West’s biggest economies agreed to cap the price of Russian oil in a bid to curtail the flow of funds into the Kremlin’s war coffers.
Gazprom was supposed to restart gas supplies to Europe on Saturday but is refusing to give a time frame for restarting the pipeline.
It says the fault was detected at the Portovaya compressor station, near Vyborg, on the Baltic.
The inspection was carried out alongside workers from Siemens – the German firm that assists with maintenance of the pipeline.
Gazprom claims that fixing of oil leaks in key engines is only possible in specialised workshops which Russia has previously said had been hindered by Western sanctions.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “Only one turbine is working.
“So the reliability of the operation, of the whole system, is at risk.”
Germany has said it can’t count on Russian gas at all during the colder months and the
Bundestag is bracing for another shutdown over repairs in October.
Meanwhile, the exact amount of the cap on Russian crude oil and petroleum proposed by the UK, US, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan is yet to be agreed.
The G7 plan means countries who sign up to the policy will only be permitted to purchase products transported by ship that are sold at or below the price cap.
It would rely on refusing Russia access to the vital London insurance market, which covers 95 per cent of the global oil shipping industry, if it does not respect the price cap.
Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi said after the G7 finance meeting: “We will curtail [Vladimir] Putin’s capacity to fund his war from oil exports by banning services, such as insurance and the provision of finance, to vessels carrying Russian oil above an agreed price cap.”
World prices for oil and gas have soared amid energy shortages linked to the war in Ukraine.
However, it is hoped that the cap will help fight inflation by putting downward pressure on energy prices.
Russia has said it would stop selling oil to any country that adopts a price cap mechanism. Since the invasion of its neighbour, Moscow has boosted oil and gas exports to countries like India and China.