Incident on Russia’s Sanctioned Gas Link to EU Is Investigated

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(Bloomberg) — An investigation has been launched after Nord Stream 2, the controversial idle gas pipeline between Russia and Europe, experienced a sudden loss of pressure and a gas leak was detected in Danish waters.

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The rapid drop in pressure was recorded overnight in one of the two chains that make up the link, the pipeline operator said in a statement on Monday. “The marine authorities of Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Russia have been notified immediately,” the operator said. “The investigation is ongoing.”

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The location of the incident was identified in the Danish exclusive economic zone southeast of the island of Bornholm, according to the Nord Stream 2 statement. The Danish Maritime Authority, which announced the gas leak on Monday, said that could be dangerous. “Mariners are advised not to sail within an area of ​​5 nautical miles of the said position,” the regulator said in the warning on its website.

European natural gas prices were broadly steady after the remarks, as Nord Stream 2 is idle amid the Kremlin’s standoff with the West over the war in Ukraine.

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Delayed release

The link, planned to carry up to 55 million cubic meters of Russian gas a year to Germany via the Baltic Sea, was set to begin full-scale deliveries in December despite US sanctions delaying the launch of the link for two years.

However, Russia’s recognition of two breakaway regions of Ukraine as sovereign states reversed Germany’s support for Nord Stream 2. In late February, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz asked the Ministry of Economy to withdraw its assessment that the Russian project did not pose a threat to energy security. supply

It is still unclear how much gas leaked into the Baltic waters. Each Nord Stream 2 chain was filled with about 177 million cubic meters of technical gas in preparation for commercial supplies.

Gas leaks in underwater pipelines can present long-term environmental risks as well as immediate fire risks. In July 2021, a leaking undersea pipeline run by Petroleos Mexicanos in the Gulf of Mexico caused a massive fire, drawing international attention and criticism from environmental activists and politicians.

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