Russian state-owned gas producer Gazprom has temporarily ceased nearly all its deliveries to storage facilities in western Europe. Interfax reports that Gazprom stopped sending gas to the Bergermeer facility in the Netherlands and to Rehden in Germany.

The temporary stoppage of deliveries to the two facilities came into effect on July 31 and will be in effect until Aug. 9. Gas is still being pumped into the Katarina and Jemgum facilities in Germany, but this is not enough to offset national consumption. On Aug. 2, more gas was taken out of storage facilities in northwestern Europe than pumped in, an extremely rare occurrence in the summer months when gas is usually stored up for winter.

Supply into Germany from the Yamal pipeline decreased from 84 million cubic meters on July 30 to 50 million on Aug. 3.

After the winter of 2020/21, Gazprom needed to replenish 61 billion cubic meters of gas on its domestic storage facilities, which led to a drop in exports to Europe.

As of Aug. 2, gas storage facilities in the EU are 57.5% full, which is 16.2% percentage points lower than the five-year average for this time of year.

The shortage of Russian supply, coupled with a drop in worldwideliquified natural gas production, has caused gas prices to soar to over $500 on European markets.

This deters the purchase of gas for storage, as many European gas transmission system operators are waiting for prices to drop before they buy supplies for the winter heating season.

Russian gas flow into Germany will increase in autumn 2021, when the Nord Stream 2 undersea pipeline is expected to be completed.

The pipe will provide an extra 55 billion cubic meters of annual gas transit capacity from Russia to Germany’s northern coast, and has been widely criticized as a threat to Ukrainian and wider European security.

On July 21, the United States, which had previously opposed the project, issued a joint statementwith Germany which expressed U.S. approval of the pipeline, leaving many Ukrainians feeling betrayed by their ally.