Q+A-What is known so far about the Nord Stream gas pipeline leaks

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LONDON – Three unexplained gas leaks detected in the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines from Russia to Germany have the European Union and Russia pointing to sabotage.

Here’s a breakdown of what’s known so far:

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The operator of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline reported a sudden drop in pressure overnight on Monday, with a spokesman suggesting there may be a leak.

The Danish Energy Authority then stated that a leak had probably occurred in one of the two Nord Stream 2 gas pipelines located in Danish waters.

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A few hours later, Nord Stream AG, operator of another submarine gas pipeline from Russia to Germany, said it was investigating a drop in pressure in Nord Stream 1.

Sweden’s Maritime Authority said on Tuesday it had warned of two leaks on Nord Stream 1 in Swedish and Danish waters.

Each pipeline line consists of about 100,000 24-ton concrete-encased steel pipes laid on the seabed. The pipes have a constant internal diameter of 1,153 meters, according to Nord Stream.

The sections are located at a depth of about 80-110 meters.


Two leaks were detected in the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, which stopped supplying gas to Europe last month, both in an area northeast of the Danish island of Bornholm.

A leak has also been detected in the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which has yet to enter commercial operations, in the same area.

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Danish authorities have asked ships to stay within five nautical miles of Bornholm. The plan to use Nord Stream 2 to supply gas was scrapped by Germany days before Russia sent troops to Ukraine in February.

Both pipelines still contain gas under pressure.


It’s not clear yet. Analysts and experts say that such leaks are very rare, and Nord Stream AG has described the leaks of three offshore pipeline chains as “unprecedented”.

However, the European Union believes that sabotage probably caused the leaks, Josep Borrell told German channel ntv, echoing the views expressed by Germany, Denmark and Sweden. The EU has not named any potential perpetrators or suggested a motive behind it.

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On Wednesday, Moscow said claims that Russia was somehow behind a possible attack on the pipelines were foolish, adding that Moscow saw a sharp increase in profits from US companies supplying gas to Europe.

A day earlier, the Kremlin had said it was not ruling out sabotage as a reason for the damage and that it was a problem affecting the energy security of “the entire continent”.

Seismologists in Denmark and Sweden said they had recorded two powerful explosions on Monday in the vicinity of the leaks and that the explosions were in the water, not under the seabed.


Armed forces, coast guards, maritime authorities, energy agencies and police in counties including Sweden, Germany and Denmark are carrying out investigations.

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Sweden’s public prosecutor’s office said it will review material from a police investigation into pipeline damage and decide on further action.

Denmark’s defense minister has held a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels, adding that it could be a week or maybe two before the areas around the damaged pipelines are sufficiently calm ยท them to be investigated.


Denmark’s armed forces said the largest gas leak had caused a surface disturbance more than 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) in diameter, while agencies issued warnings to shipping to avoid the area .

Although neither pipeline was operational, both contained natural gas, which is primarily composed of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that is the second largest cause of climate change after CO2.

This has raised fears that the disruption could cause a climate calamity, although it is not yet clear to what extent.

Norway has said it will beef up security at its oil and gas facilities in the wake of leaks and reports of drone activity in the North Sea, and Danish authorities have called for the sector’s level of preparedness to be increased of energy and gas.

(Reporting by Nina Chestney and Reuters bureaus; Editing by Alexander Smith, Alexandra Hudson)



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