Unexplained leaks hit Russian underwater gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea

Unexplained leaks hit Russian underwater gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea

Scandinavian neighbors Sweden and Denmark are investigating leaks in two Russian gas pipelines that run under the Baltic Sea that the operator called “unprecedented”.

Sweden issued a warning on Tuesday about two leaks discovered in the Nord Stream 1 pipeline shortly after another leak was discovered on the nearby Nord Stream 2 pipeline, prompting Denmark to restrict shipping within a 5-nautical mile radius.

Moscow reduced the flow of gas to Europe via Nord Stream 1 before cutting it off completely in August, claiming that Western sanctions had caused technical difficulties.

The new Nord Stream 2 pipeline has recently been completed but Germany scrapped plans to import gas through the pipeline just days before Russia invaded Ukraine in February.

Map of Europe with gas pipeline network from Russia Map of Europe with gas pipeline network from Russia

However, both pipelines still contained gas under pressure.

Nord Stream AG, which operates the pipelines, said on Tuesday that three offshore pipelines in Nord Stream’s gas pipeline system had suffered what it called “unprecedented” damage in one day, adding that it was impossible to say when the gas grid system’s functionality would be restored.

“The destruction that occurred on the same day simultaneously on three strands of the offshore gas pipelines of the Nord Stream system is unprecedented. It is not yet possible to estimate the timing of the restoration of the gas transport infrastructure,” said Nord Stream AG.

In Moscow, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he could not rule out the possibility of sabotage behind the leaks.

“No option can be ruled out right now,” Peskov said on a conference call with reporters.

Meanwhile, the Baltic Pipe, a new undersea pipeline delivering Norwegian gas to Poland with an annual capacity of 10 billion cubic meters per day, was inaugurated on September 27 to boost Europe’s energy security after Russia cut off Warsaw’s supplies.

At a ceremony in western Poland, Norway’s Energy Minister Terje Aasland said it was “a milestone on the important path towards European independence from Russian energy.”

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said the pipeline launch “marks a decisive geopolitical step for all of us.”

Polish President Andrzej Duda called the pipeline “a Polish dream.”

Information from Reuters was used in this report

    Source: sn.dk

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