Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s top energy official defended his country’s decision to release a sanctioned turbine for the key Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline, saying the government was not convinced by Ukraine’s arguments there were alternative options.
In testimony to lawmakers in Ottawa, Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said leaving Germany to rely more on an existing pipeline through Ukraine — as a replacement for Nord Stream — was deemed unworkable in part because of capacity constraints.
“The bottom line is that the flows that could be expected to move to Germany through the pipelines that run from Russia via Ukraine would be significantly lower than what Nord Stream” can move, Wilkinson said to a parliamentary committee studying the turbine decision.
Wilkinson said he reviewed the proposal from Ukraine with technical experts from the International Energy Agency and discussed it with officials from the European Union and Germany. The flows through Ukraine would be “significantly less” than what can move through Nord Stream at full capacity, he said.
There would also be risks of relying on a pipeline that runs through a war zone and there’s nothing to stop Russia from reducing flows through Ukraine as well, he said.
Wilkinson added that Canada’s turbine decision was undertaken in close consultation with its NATO allies. He reiterated Germany’s argument the move effectively “called Putin’s bluff” by eliminating an excuse to curtail Nord Stream gas shipments to Germany.
But Ukraine’s ambassador to Canada, Yuliia Kovaliv, spoke to the same committee later in the day and pushed back on Wilkinson’s statements.
“That’s not true that Ukraine cannot deliver a substitute gas delivery to Germany,” Kovaliv said, adding that the Ukrainian network currently ships more gas than Nord Stream. “This is the only pipeline where Russian monopoly Gazprom has no stake, and it delivers gas to Europe even during the war.”