Play Stupid Energy Games

Win the prize of a cold, dark winter and an angry citizenry:

Russia is deliberately sabotaging the Nord Stream 1 natural gas pipeline to spite the EU, European officials have claimed, questioning Moscow’s explanation for an indefinite delay in restoring service.

State-owned energy giant Gazprom informed its European customers on Saturday that it could not safely resume operations until it had fixed “oil leaks” discovered in a major turbine during a maintenance operation.

Nord Stream was set to come back online just after midnight Saturday morning after three days of maintenance. The leaks, reportedly affecting “cables connected to speed meters of a rotor,” were discovered during a technical inspection with the turbine’s German manufacturer Siemens. Moscow had earlier warned that the pipeline’s operation was threatened by sanctions, which had created a shortage of spare parts.

However, Siemens argued the company had alternate turbines at the compressor station where the leak had been discovered and could use one of those in case of a real emergency. “Such leaks do not normally affect the operation of a turbine and can be sealed on site,” they claimed.

European Commission spokesman Charles Michel condemned what he called Russia’s “use of gas as a weapon,” declaring it would not “change the resolve of the EU” as the bloc works toward “energy independence.”

Commission press service chief Eric Mamer slammed the “fallacious pretenses” he claimed Gazprom had used to shut down the pipeline, holding it up as proof of both their “cynicism” and their “unreliability as a supplier” and suggesting Moscow “prefer[red] to flare gas instead of honoring contracts.”

German parliamentary foreign affairs committee chair Michael Roth denounced the shutdown as “part of Russia’s psychological war against us” and accused President Vladimir Putin of “violat[ing] contracts without scruples….even at the expense of his own economic interests.”

Let’s get this straight. Europe has a perfectly operational natural gas pipeline, Nord Stream 2, that it refuses to use. Russia has, quite reasonably, decided that it’s not interested in continuing to provide natural gas to the same countries that are a) sanctioning its people and b) arming and funding the Ukrainian war against Russia on the terms of those enemies.

Can you even imagine how many contracts have been violated by the European sanctions against Russia? This anti-Russian rhetoric is as ineffective as it is retarded. Frankly, I’m astonished that the Russians didn’t shut down the pipeline months ago.

Then again, it is rather amusing to see the Russians slowly dialing up the pain while simultaneously pretending that there is nothing they can do about it. As an award-winning cruelty artist, I have to say that I tend to approve of the sadistic diplomacy they have applied to this situation.

Germany’s initial Energy Saving Ordinance, in effect for the next six months:

  • Retail stores may no longer keep their doors open throughout the day to reduce electricity consumption for air conditioning when it is hot outside — and for heating on cold winter days.
  • Public buildings and monuments have to go dark at 10 p.m.
  • Illuminated advertising must be switched off after 10p.m., with only a few exceptions. If advertisements serve traffic safety, they remain switched on, for example, at railroad underpasses. Street lamps also remain on, and store windows may continue to be illuminated.
  • Monuments and other buildings may no longer be illuminated at night. At least not for purely aesthetic reasons. However, emergency lighting will not be switched off, and illumination is permitted for cultural events and public festivals.
  • In public buildings, halls and corridors will generally no longer be heated, and the temperature in offices will be limited to a maximum of 19 degrees. In places where heavy physical work is performed, temperatures will be even lower in the future. However, the restrictions do not apply to social facilities such as hospitals, daycare centers, and schools, where higher air temperatures are essential for the “health of the people who spend time there,” according to the Economy Ministry.
  • Cutting back on warm water. Likewise, in public buildings, instantaneous water heaters or hot water tanks should be switched off if they are mainly used for washing hands. Exceptions are made for medical facilities, schools, and daycare centers. Some cities go even further. There, the showers in swimming pools and sports halls will remain unheated.
  • Private pools may no longer be heated with gas and electricity, except for rehab centers, recreational facilities, and hotels. The new regulations will initially apply until the end of February.