Nord Stream pipeline leak raises sabotage fears

Sweden’s National Seismic Network said on Tuesday it had recorded two explosions near the mysterious leak of Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines, raising fears of damage.

Why it matters: The Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines, which are critical for transporting Russian gas to Germany, played a central role in the energy crisis that engulfed Europe after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

  • While Nord Stream 2 has yet to enter commercial operations — its certification was halted on the eve of the invasion — Nord Stream 1 provided a vital route for Russian gas into Europe until Russia shut it down earlier this month, citing maintenance concerns the pipeline.

Newest: “The United States is supporting the investigation and we will continue to work to preserve Europe’s energy security,” the White House national security adviser said. Jack Sullivan says On Tuesday night, he noted that he also spoke with his Danish counterpart, Jean-Charles Ellermann-Kingombe.

Big picture: Two leaks were detected in the Nord Stream 1 pipeline and one was detected in the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Reuters noted that while neither pipeline was running when the leak was discovered, both were filled with gas.

  • According to Reuters, public broadcaster SVT reported that one explosion occurred early on Monday, followed by a second later in the day.

enlarge: In a statement, Nord Stream AG confirmed there had been “a pressure drop across both gas pipelines at the Nord Stream 1 control centre”, adding that an investigation was underway.

  • The Swedish Maritime Administration issued a warning to keep ships 5 nautical miles away from the spill site, which is registered off the Danish island of Bornholm.
  • Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said she “cannot rule out” sabotage. The country’s maritime authorities responded to Sweden’s warnings that ships could lose their buoyancy if they were in the vicinity of the spill, and there was still a risk that the leaked gas would ignite on the surface and in the air, according to the Associated Press.
  • “There is no doubt that these were explosions,” said Bjorn Lund, a seismologist at Sweden’s National Seismological Center SVT.

What are they talking about: Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Tuesday that the leak was worrisome and acknowledged the potential for damage along the pipeline. “Any option cannot be ruled out now,” he said, according to Reuters.

  • Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said on Tuesday, according to the Financial Times: “It is too early to draw conclusions, but this is an extraordinary situation. There are three leaks, so it is very important to It’s hard to imagine that this could be accidental.”

Editor’s Note: This article has been corrected to indicate that the leak started on Monday, not Thursday.

This story has been updated with new details of the explosion registered by Sweden’s National Earthquake Center, as well as comments from White House National Security Adviser Jack Sullivan.

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