Three mysterious leaks in two major gas pipelines between Russia and Europe are being investigated by European governments. The cause of the Nord Stream 1 and 2 damage is unknown, but investigators have not ruled out sabotage.
The operator of Nord Stream 1 stated that the subsea lines had suffered “unprecedented” damage in a single day. Both pipelines have become flashpoints in Russia’s and Europe’s energy feud. Whatever the origin of the damage, it will not have an immediate impact on gas delivery to Europe because neither pipeline was operating.
The European Union has previously accused Russia of blackmailing Europe by reducing gas supply, but Moscow disputes this. It claims that sanctions against Russia make appropriate maintenance of the gas infrastructure impossible. According to unconfirmed media reports in Germany, authorities are not ruling out an attack on the underwater gas network.
Mette Frederiksen, Denmark’s Prime Minister, said it was too early to draw conclusions, but it was difficult to believe the many disclosures were a coincidence. Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesperson, said he was “very concerned” about the incident and that the potential of a planned strike could not be ruled out.
The Nord Stream 1 pipeline, which comprises of two parallel segments, has been idle since August, when Russia shut it down for maintenance. It runs 745 miles (1,200 kilometres) beneath the Baltic Sea from the Russian coast at St. Petersburg to north-eastern Germany. Its Russian-owned twin pipeline, Nord Stream 2, was shut down after Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine. Despite the fact that neither pipeline is in use, they both hold gas. The cases are being investigated by authorities in Germany, Denmark, and Sweden.
On Monday afternoon, the Nord Stream 2 operators issued a warning about a loss of pressure in the pipeline. As a result, Danish authorities issued a warning that ships should stay away from the area around the island of Bornholm. The leak might last for a few days, or even a week, the Danish energy authority told the Reuters news agency.
In response to two leaks in Nord Stream 1, the Swedish Maritime Authority also issued a warning a few hours later. Operators of the pipeline, Nord Stream AG, stated that it was hard to predict when the infrastructure will be repaired. Since Moscow invaded Ukraine, energy prices have increased sharply, and dwindling supplies could cause prices to rise even more.
Families in the EU are worried that they won’t be able to pay the expense of heating this winter. With the opening of a new gas pipeline, Poland is taking the lead in the push to reduce dependency on Russia, once Europe’s primary energy supply. The Baltic Pipe will be a new route for Norwegian gas to reach Europe, opening up access to it for nations south of Poland like Slovakia and the Czech Republic.