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How Real Is The Threat To Europe's Energy Infrastructure?


The explosions that caused leaks in the Nord Stream pipelines have been deemed sabotage, and the message to Europe is this: Your infrastructure can be crippled - easily. Neither of the two pipelines damaged was actually sending gas to Europe at the time. It was no loss to Russia, then. And no loss to Europe, in the short term at least. Instead, it was a dangerously intangible message. It’s about sowing fear and uncertainty. 

The Baltic Pipeline was launched on September 27th - which makes the timing of the Nord Stream explosions particularly worrying for Poland. One part of this message was likely intended as a threat to Poland that the Baltic Pipeline is under direct threat - as are other European efforts at independence from Russia. 

What other energy infrastructure in Europe could be targeted? 

Norwegian energy infrastructure would be a clear target, as the biggest supplier to Europe - 120bcm this year. These supplies are far greater than what Russia is supplying to Europe. Those drones caught flying over oil facilities in the North Sea were meant to suggest this. But that scenario assumes we are only talking about energy security. 

It's important to remember any attacks aren’t just about the immediate future. Europe will survive the winter. But what happens after that? Surviving the winter means depleting gas storage. It’s no longer enough for Russia to threaten to cut Europe off from gas. That hasn’t…

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