Sanctions against Russia | A turbine puts Ottawa in a sticky situation

The economic sanctions imposed on Russia put Canada in a difficult position as it must decide whether to send back to Europe a turbine that Russian company Gazprom relies on to supply Germany with gas, even if Ukraine opposes that decision.

Posted at 1:50 p.m

Stephane Blais
The Canadian Press

When asked by The Canadian Press on Friday morning, Natural Resources Secretary Jonathan Wilkinson acknowledged that Canada is stuck between tree and bark and that whatever his decision, some partners may be offended.

“We are discussing this with the Ukrainian government and the German government and it is not an easy question,” concluded Minister Wilkinson.

Reuters was the first to report that Ukraine objects to Canada handing over equipment for Gazprom’s Nord Stream pipeline.

The turbine is at a factory owned by German company Siemens in Montreal “to be refurbished,” according to Minister Wilkinson, who did not explain why it ended up in the country.

The natural resources minister told The Canadian Press that the Gazprom pipeline “supplies gas not only to Germany but to a number of other European countries, and the Russian government is using the turbine as an excuse to reduce gas supplies to Germany and other countries .

The situation “is not easy”, reiterated Jonathan Wilkinson, stating that Canada must “be sensitive to the fate of Ukrainians” and “continue to fully support the sanctions against Moscow”, but on the other hand “the purpose of the sanctions is not ours punishing allies and thereby destroying the economies of Germany, Italy, Slovakia and Austria”.

He added that “we are working to find a solution that works for everyone”.

Deliveries of Russian natural gas through the Gazprom pipeline to Europe will fall by around 40% this year, the state-controlled Russian energy giant Gazprom said weeks ago after sanctions by Canadian forces over the war in Ukraine prevented German partner Siemens Energy from doing so had to deliver equipment.

In June, Siemens Energy told The Associated Press that a gas turbine powering a compressor station on the Gazprom pipeline had been shipped to Montreal for scheduled repairs. However, due to the sanctions imposed by Canada, the company could not return the equipment to the customer Gazprom.

“In this context, we have informed the Canadian and German governments and are working on a permanent solution,” Siemens Energy told The Associated Press.

In response to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, Canada imposed various sanctions on the Russian oil industry.

Item 9A991 of the “List of Controlled Goods and Technologies under the Regulations on Special Economic Measures (Russia)” would include the turbine type used by Gazprom in Montreal.

With information from The Associated Press

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