A gas pipeline in central Russia that brings gas from Russia’s Arctic through Ukraine to Europe has been shut following a huge blast that ripped through and left three people dead and one injured, Reuters cited local officials and TASS news agency as reporting.
According to the Chuvashia regional Emergencies Ministry, the pipeline blew up during planned maintenance work near the village of Kalinino, about 150 km (90 miles) west of the Volga city of Kazan. The resulting gas flare has been extinguished, with local officials reporting that the flow of gas through the section of the Urengoi-Pomary-Uzhhorod pipeline was cut off around 1050 GMT, Tass reported.
Later on Tuesday morning, a local unit of Gazprom said in a statement carried by Reuters that gas was being diverted to parallel pipelines as a result of the explosion.
Built in the 1980s, the pipeline enters Ukraine via the Sudzha metering point, and currently is the main route for Russian gas to reach Europe. State-owned gas producer Gazprom and its local branch has, however, failed to respond to requests for comment.
Europe probably won’t lose too much sleep over it though. Gazprom had earlier revealed that it expected to pump 43 million cubic meters of gas to Europe via Ukraine through Sudzha in the next 24 hours, a volume in line with recent days.
To put that number in context, that run rate represents just 5.4% of the 155 billion cubic meters of natural gas that Europe imported from Russia in 2021. Europe has managed to stockpile huge volumes of natural gas for the winter season, so much so that prices have tumbled sharply in recent months.
Whereas supplies of Russian pipeline gas–the bulk of Europe’s gas imports before the Ukraine war–are down to a trickle, Europe has been hungrily scooping up Russian LNG in the meantime. The Wall Street Journal has reported that the bloc’s imports of Russian liquefied natural gas jumped by 41% Y/Y in the year through August.