Russia's Gazprom has announced a further cut in the amount of gas it can pump through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Europe, a move Germany's economy minister says is aimed at sowing uncertainty and raising fuel prices.
The second supply capacity cut in as many days means that Nord Stream 1 will run at just 40 per cent of its capacity.
Gazprom initially blamed the cut on delays getting Siemens Energy equipment that is undergoing maintenance in Canada.
Gazprom on Wednesday said it was further scaling down the use of Siemens-made equipment at the Portovaya compressor station near St Petersburg.
"The Russian side's argument is simply a pretext. It is obviously a strategy to unsettle and drive up prices," Robert Habeck said in a statement following the latest cut, which will limit Nord Stream 1 flows to 67 million cubic metres per day.
The development also highlights the challenge faced by Germany, which depends on Russia for most of its natural gas, to find suitable alternatives to an energy supplier Europe's largest economy needs but no longer wants.
"We can currently buy the necessary quantities from the market, albeit at higher prices," Habeck said, adding that while supply was secure, saving energy was the order of the hour.
"Of course we will take measures on a state level if needed," he said a day after Germany decided to put Gazprom Germania, which was ditched by Gazprom in April, under long-term administration and back it with a 10 billion euro ($A15 billion) loan.