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Fourth leak found in Nord Stream pipelines

Gas emissions in the Baltic Sea from Nord Stream f

The Swedish Coast Guard (SCG) said they found a fourth leak in Nord Stream pipelines on September 29, 2022, just 3 days after underwater explosions severely damaged two Nord Stream 1 pipes and one Nord Stream 2.1

  • NS 1 and 2 are key underwater pipelines built to deliver Russian natural gas to Germany.
  • Nord Stream AG – a Switzerland-based consortium for the construction and operation of the Nord Stream (Nord Stream 1) said earlier this week the damage is unprecedented.
  • Due to the severity of the damage, the repairs would take several months or more.

The fourth leak was detected on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, in close proximity to a larger hole found on the nearby Nord Stream 1, the Swedish coast guard said today.2

Two of the four leaks are in Sweden’s exclusive economic zone and the other two are in the Danish exclusive economic zone.

On Wednesday, September 28, SCG said they are working on the ongoing environmental rescue operation and assisting the police and prosecutors in their work with the investigations.

The situation has not changed since the gas leak was discovered, SCG said, adding the gas leak in the Swedish economic zone is constant.

On the same day, the European Union promised a robust response to any intentional disruption of its energy infrastructure.

“The European Union is deeply concerned about damage to the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines that has resulted in leaks in the international waters of the Baltic Sea,” Joseph Borrell, a High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (HR/VP), said in a statement.3

“Safety and environmental concerns are of utmost priority. These incidents are not a coincidence and affect us all.

“All available information indicates those leaks are the result of a deliberate act. We will support any investigation aimed at getting full clarity on what happened and why, and will take further steps to increase our resilience in energy security.

“Any deliberate disruption of European energy infrastructure is utterly unacceptable and will be met with a robust and united response.”

On Thursday, September 29, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told the Soloviev Live TV that pipeline incidents took place in ‘an area that is fully controlled by US intelligence agencies.’4

Commenting on the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipeline leaks, Zakharova recalled that officials in Washington had asserted early this year that Nord Stream 2 would never go into service.

The Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman demanded, among other things, that US President Joe Biden issue a reply as to whether Washington had carried out its threat over the pipelines on September 25 and 26.

What Zakharova was referring to was the US president’s statement made in February 2022:

“If Russia invades, that means tanks or troops crossing the border of Ukraine again, then there will be no longer a Nord Stream 2. We will bring an end to it.” When asked how exactly, the president said, “I promise you, we will be able do that.”

Former US President Donald Trump warned on Wednesday this [the sabotage] could lead to major escalation or war.

Referring to theories alleging that Russia was involved in the Nord Stream incidents, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Pesokov said it is ‘predictably stupid to voice such versions.’

“This is a big problem for us. Both lines of Nord Stream 2 are filled with gas, the entire system is ready to pump gas, and this gas is very expensive,” Peskov specified.

Interestingly, the explosions came on the same day as the inauguration of a long-awaited pipeline that will bring Norwegian gas to Poland, which used to rely heavily on Russia for supplies.5

Anders Puck Nielsen, a researcher with the Center for Maritime Operations at the Royal Danish Defense College, was quoted by Reuters as saying the timing of the leaks was “conspicuous” given the ceremony for the Baltic Pipe.

This became even more interesting when Polish politician and a Member of the European Parliament – Radosław Sikorski, posted the following tweet:

radek sikorski MEP thank you USA nord stream leak september 2022

On September 26, Norway’s Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA) urged oil companies to be more vigilant over unidentified drones seen flying near Norwegian offshore oil and gas platforms, warning they could pose a risk of accidents or deliberate attacks.6

The warning came after Equinor – Norway’s largest oil and gas company said it had notified authorities of sightings of drones of unknown origin flying near some of its platforms.

As a result of the gas leaks, the price of natural gas per megawatt-hour in Europe rose 12.8% to €209.88 ($200.71) on September 28.

References:

1 Unprecedented, simultaneous damage to both Nord Stream pipelines; Norway warns of threats from unidentified drones flying over gas and oil platforms – The Watchers – September 27, 2022

2 The Swedish Coast Guard’s role in relation to the leaking gas pipelines – Swedish Coast Guard – September 27/28, 2022

3 Declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the European Union on leaks in the Nord Stream gas pipelines – Council of the EU – September 28, 2022

4 Kremlin slams ‘stupid’ conspiracy theories alleging Russia behind Nord Stream emergencies – TASS – September 29, 2022

5 NATO, EU Say Gas Pipeline Leaks Are ‘Sabotage’ But Stop Short Of Pointing Finger At Russia – RFERL – September 29, 2022

6 Unprecedented, simultaneous damage to both Nord Stream pipelines; Norway warns of threats from unidentified drones flying over gas and oil platforms – The Watchers – September 27, 2022

Featured image: Swedish Coast Guard

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