‘Can’t rule out sabotage’: Nord Stream pipelines spring three leaks

A German security official cites evidence of a violent act

Content of the article

Germany suspects that the Nord Stream gas pipeline system was damaged by an act of sabotage, which would mean a major escalation in the energy confrontation between Russia and Europe.

Advertisement 2

Content of the article

According to a German security official, the evidence points to a violent act rather than a technical problem. Gas leaks from three pipelines appeared almost simultaneously in the Baltic Sea, prompting Denmark to say it was increasing security around its energy assets.

Content of the article

It is the clearest sign yet that Europe will have to survive this winter, at least, without any significant flow of Russian gas. The pipelines were already out of action, but any hope that Moscow would ever turn the taps back on has now been lost. Gas prices jumped.

“It’s hard to imagine that these are coincidences,” Mette Frederiksen, Denmark’s prime minister, told reporters on Tuesday. “We cannot rule out sabotage.”

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that before the results of an investigation, it was premature to speculate about possible sabotage. “Nothing can be ruled out,” he said.

Advertisement 3

Content of the article

Russia has been tightening energy supplies to Europe for months, engaging in a cat-and-mouse game as it tries to exert maximum pressure on Ukraine’s allies. Europe has responded by filling gas stores and trying to find alternative supplies. For now, it looks like those efforts will be enough to get Europe through this winter, though questions remain about what’s next. The bloc got about 40 percent of its pipeline from Russia before the war, a figure that now stands at about 9 percent.

It’s not the first time there have been suggestions of foul play at energy sites since the war began. European leaders have accused Moscow of using energy flows for months and using maintenance and repair problems as a pretext to halt supplies. Then, last week, Russia said it had foiled an attack on an oil and gas complex that supplies Europe.

Advertisement 4

Content of the article

In July, Bloomberg reported that the Kremlin was likely to keep vital gas flows to Europe at minimum levels as the standoff over Ukraine continues to increase pressure on the continent.

German, Danish and Swedish authorities are investigating the leaks, which were so large they were seen on the radars of nearby ships. The leaks come from Nord Stream, which was still sending small volumes of gas to Europe until what Moscow described as a technical problem halted flows earlier this month, and Nord Stream 2, a project that was suspended just when it was nearing completion shortly before the war. it began.

Denmark has sent a warship as well as an environmental vessel and a helicopter to the area, the Danish Armed Forces said. The Ministry of Energy and Climate previously said it recorded gas leaks from both Nord Stream and Nord Stream 2 in its exclusive economic zone in the Baltic Sea, as well as in Sweden’s.

Advertisement 5

Content of the article

Unprecedented damage

Nord Stream, which is majority-controlled by Russia’s Gazprom PJSC, said it was impossible to say when the damage might be repaired.

“The destruction that occurred in one day on three lines of the Nord Stream pipeline system is unprecedented,” the operator said on Tuesday. “It is now impossible to estimate the time frame for restoring the operations of the gas shipping infrastructure.”

Benchmark European gas prices rose as much as 12 percent on Tuesday, after four days of losses.

“Prices are also trading higher on speculation that this is sabotage, although what that would mean remains highly speculative,” said James Huckstepp, head of EMEA gas analysis at S&P Global Commodity Insights . S&P Global Commodity Insights has already assumed that remaining Russian gas flows to Europe will fall to zero before the end of the year, it said.

Advertisement 6

Content of the article

Gas leaks also pose environmental and safety risks. On Monday, the Danish Maritime Authority advised ships to avoid areas south and southeast of the island of Bornholm after several gas leaks were detected in the vicinity of pipelines.

“Pipeline leaks happen very rarely and we are therefore raising the level of preparedness as a result of the events we have seen over the past 24 hours,” said Kristoffer Bottzauw, head of the Danish Energy Agency , in a statement. “We want to thoroughly monitor Denmark’s critical infrastructure in order to strengthen security of supply in the future.”

The Swedish Maritime Administration banned ships from entering an area within five nautical miles of both Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2, citing damage, leaks and “explosive gas in the vicinity”.

Advertisement 7

Content of the article

The Swedish coast guard is monitoring the area by plane.

No Nord Stream leaks have been detected in Finland’s exclusive economic zone, Petteri Salli, officer in charge of the Gulf of Finland Coast Guard district, said by phone.

Pipeline damage has had no impact on adjacent onshore gas infrastructure in Germany, grid operator Gascade said.




Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil discussion forum and encouraging all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour to be moderated before appearing on the site. Please keep your comments relevant and respectful. We’ve enabled email notifications: You’ll now receive an email if you get a reply to your comment, there’s an update to a comment thread you follow, or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *