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Siemens sought turbine export permit for ‘guidance’ from Ottawa on Russia sanctions

OTTAWA — An executive from the Montreal company that repaired a turbine for a Russian gas pipeline earlier this year says it sought an export permit to get “guidance” from Ottawa.

Siemens Energy Canada Ltd. says it halted its scheduled maintenance work on a turbine for the Nord Stream 1 pipeline when Canada imposed sanctions on Russia in March after its invasion of Ukraine. 

The company’s managing director, Arne Wohlschlegel, told a parliamentary committee that in May, the German government advised its headquarters and the Canadian government that an energy crisis was unfolding in Germany.

The Montreal subsidiary then filed for export permits that would exempt it from running afoul of Canada’s sanctions regime so that it could get “proper guidance” from Global Affairs Canada on whether to move ahead.

Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly, who signed a permit in July, told the Foreign Affairs Committee earlier in its study of the controversy that Canada allowed the permit so as to ease Europe’s energy woes. 

Siemens delivered the repaired turbine to Germany in July but the part has not been used, and the Gazprom pipeline, which runs natural gas to Europe from Russia, has ceased operating after a major rupture. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 17, 2022.

The Canadian Press