(Reuters) — German insurers Allianz and Munich Re have renewed protection for the damaged Russian-controlled Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline, five sources with knowledge of the matter said, indicating that its revival has not been ruled out after an alleged sabotage attack.
Assurances from two of Germany’s biggest companies are crucial to any long-term future for the pipeline, which was the main route for Russian gas to Europe for a decade before the explosion last September.
The assurance contrasts with Germany’s public stance of cutting ties with Moscow, but one of the five sources said the German government had not objected to the protection. Most Western investors have written off their stakes in the pipeline.
Munich Re, Allianz and Germany̵7;s chancellery declined to comment, while the economy ministry said insurance was not part of the government’s previous support for the pipeline.
Russia has 51% of the shares in Nord Stream 1 through a subsidiary of the state energy group Gazprom.
Some of Nord Stream’s German shareholders prefer to at least preserve the damaged pipeline in case relations with Moscow improve, two people familiar with the matter said separately.
One of the people said Berlin tolerated such an approach to infrastructure, although it has said energy ties with Russia are severed.
All insurance industry and trade sources declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue.
The insurance covers damage to the pipeline and business interruption, one of the sources said.
Having insurance would also facilitate any repair work needed to resume gas supplies under the Baltic Sea to Europe.
While imports of Russian crude oil and oil products are prohibited under EU sanctions, Russian gas imports are permitted. However, the West is trying to find alternatives.
Europe’s imports of Russian gas have fallen from around 40% of the EU’s gas supply to less than 10% since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began last February.