Gazprom halts gas flows to Europe



Russian energy giant Gazprom halted gas flows to Europe this week, intensifying the battle over gas supplies between Moscow and Brussels amid high-level inflation.

"The supply via Nord Stream has been completely stopped," Gazprom said on its official Telegram channel on Wednesday, noting maintenance on a gas compressor that started on the same day.

The outage for maintenance on Nord Stream 1 means that no gas will flow to Germany between 01:00 a.m. GMT on August 31 and 01:00 a.m. GMT on September 3, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

Further restrictions on European gas supplies will heighten an energy crunch that has already sent wholesale gas prices soaring over 400 percent since last August, creating a painful cost-of-living crisis for consumers and businesses and forcing governments to spend billions to ease the burden, according to Reuters.

In Germany, inflation hit its highest level in almost 50 years in August and consumer sentiment is projected to hit a record low for the third month in a row next month as households brace for higher energy bills, Reuters reported.

Gazprom also said on Tuesday that it would reduce its supply of gas to France, and hours later, the energy giant confirmed that it had cut off gas supplies to French utility company Engie, citing the latter's failure to pay for July gas deliveries in full, Russia Today (RT) reported on Tuesday.

Engie said in a statement earlier on Tuesday that the decrease in supply was "due to a disagreement between the parties on the application of contracts," and said the Gazprom reduction would not affect supply, according to the RT report.