Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 leak detective: who is responsible for the diversion?

Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 leak detective: who is responsible for the diversion?
Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 leak detective: who is responsible for the diversion?

Three leaks at once

Authorities in the Scandinavian countries reported on Tuesday the detection of two leaks from the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline, which is laid on the bottom of the Baltic Sea, a few hours after a similar incident on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.

“The authorities have been informed that two leaks have been detected from Nord Stream 1 – which is also not working, but which contains gas,” Denmark’s climate and energy minister told AFP, adding that he called for “a boost” in the country’s electricity and gas sectors. “level of readiness”.

One of the two strands of Russia’s defunct second export pipeline across the Baltic Sea to Germany’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline also recorded a drop in pressure on Monday, Russian media reported, citing a statement from the pipeline operator.

“Tonight, the Nord Stream 2 dispatcher on land recorded a sudden pressure drop in the A strand of the pipeline. The coastguards of Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Russia were alerted immediately. An investigation is underway,” the company Nord Stream 2 AG said in a statement.

Not a crack, but a big hole

According to Russian media, the Danish Maritime Administration reported detecting a gas leak near the island of Bornholm, outside the country’s territorial waters, in Denmark’s exclusive economic zone. This location corresponds to the route of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. The Danish Maritime Authority has advised ships to avoid the area within a 5-mile radius.

The Reuters agency also reports on the incident, citing the German Ministry of Economy. According to her, the pressure in the Nord Stream 2 thread dropped from 300 to 7 bars overnight.

The fact that three strands of the Nord Stream gas pipeline system were damaged at the same time was called an “unprecedented” situation by the operator. This means that out of four pipes through which gas can flow, only one remains intact.

“The violations that occurred on the same day simultaneously in three offshore pipelines of the Nord Stream system are an unprecedented event. It is not yet possible to estimate how long it will take to restore the serviceability of the gas transportation infrastructure,” the Russian news agency Interfax quoted the Nord Stream company as saying.

All three leaks occurred in Denmark’s exclusive economic zone northeast of the island of Bornholm.

The head of the Danish Energy Agency has said that the gas leak in the Nord Stream pipeline was not caused by a small crack but by a “big hole” and the problem may be the result of a deliberate act, Berlingske reports.

“We are concerned about what happened there. And because something else can happen,” said Christoffer Bettzauv, director of the Danish Energy Agency.

It is estimated that the repair of the pipelines may take several years.

The Kremlin is “very concerned”

The Kremlin said on Tuesday it was “deeply concerned” by reports of leaks from the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 gas pipelines under the Baltic Sea.

Asked by reporters if it could have been an act of sabotage, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that at the moment “it is impossible to rule out any options.”

German government sources: It’s a diversion

The pressure in the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipelines may have decreased due to damage caused by targeted attacks such as sabotage. This was reported by the German newspaper Der Tagesspiegel, citing a source in the German government.

“We can’t think of a scenario where it wasn’t a targeted attack,” the source said. To confirm this version, the seabed must be explored by submarines and divers.

Scanpix/AP Photo/Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline facilities in Lubmin, northern Germany, in 2022. February 15

Two versions

According to Tagesspiegel, two hypotheses are being considered. According to the first version, the gas pipelines were damaged by Ukraine or forces connected to it, so that gas from Russia could reach Europe only through Ukrainian pipelines or the Yamal gas pipeline through Polish territory.

According to the second version, the gas pipelines were damaged by Russia “under the guise of a foreign flag” in order to blame Ukraine for the sabotage, deepen the energy crisis and possibly increase the price of gas even more.

Expensive gas pipelines do not supply gas

55 billion cubic meters of annual throughput, about 10 billion The Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which was completed and filled with gas at the end of last year, was supposed to double the capacity of the Russian gas export corridor through the Baltic Sea.

However, the German federal government suspended the Nord Stream 2 certification process in February this year, just before Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Germany’s allies, the United States and European countries, have long opposed the pipeline, fearing that Moscow would use it as a geopolitical weapon and that it would increase Europe’s dependence on Russia. The only actual shareholder of the Swiss-registered Nord Stream 2 AG is the Kremlin-controlled Gazprom, and its partners in the project as financiers and intended beneficiaries were Germany’s Wintershall Dea and Uniper, France’s Engie, Austria’s OMV and England’s Dutch Shell.

Gazprom, which controls all Russian gas exports by pipeline, suspended Nord Stream 1 of the same capacity earlier this month indefinitely, allegedly due to technical problems that could not be resolved due to Western sanctions against Russia. Berlin called such arguments null and accused Moscow of blackmail.

The article is in Lithuanian

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