The Yamal-Europe pipeline has been sending fuel eastwards for the sixth day running on Sunday, according to Gascade.
Data from the German network operator showed the flows at the Mallnow metering point on the Germany-Poland border were going back to Poland at an hourly volume of nearly 1.2m kilowatt hours (kWh/h) – with the direction of travel unexpected to change during the rest of the day.
The pipeline is a major source of gas into Europe, which relies on Russia to provide 35 per cent of its natural gas supplies.
Earlier this week, Russian President Vladimir Putin blamed German gas importers for the reversal, accusing Germany of reselling Russian gas to Poland and Ukraine rather than relieving an overheated market.
He also said Gazprom has fewer requests from buyers amid continued market uncertainty, while the state-back gas giant has also been cutting back its export growth into the continent this winter.
The Kremlin argued flow reversals were not politically motivated – rejecting any attempts to connect the situation to the delays in certifying the Nord Stream 2 pipeline or tensions between Moscow and Washington over Ukraine.
Government spokesman Dmitry Peskov previously described the matter as a “purely commercial situation.”
Spokespersons for RWE and Uniper – two of Gazprom’s biggest Germany buyers – also told Reuters the state-backed gas giant was still meeting delivery obligations.
Nevertheless, the eastward flows coincide with rising tensions between Russia and Europe, and increased fears of blackouts this winter after Kosovo – one of Europe’s poorest nations – announced rolling two-hour blackouts for most its consumers with its energy grid unable to cope with demand.
The EU has also threatened to sanction Russia if it invades Ukraine, in line with plans from the White House to bring in economic measures against the country.
Although wholesale costs have fallen from record levels recorded on European benchmarks on December 21, following increases in LNG supplies from the US in the run-up to Christmas, prices remain very high – having surged more than fivefold this year and fuelling inflation.
Storage also issues continue to persist – with Europe’s storage sites less than 58 per cent full.
The energy crunch has been further exacerbated by issues with nuclear reactors in France and low wind power output in Germany.