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Germany’s security authorities assume that the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines may be offline forever in what many suspect could have been sabotage on the pipes earlier this week, German daily Tagesspiegel reported on Wednesday, quoting sources in the government.
Earlier this week, Danish and Swedish authorities said they were investigating unexplained leaks of gas in the Baltic Sea from both Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipelines from Russia to Germany—leaks that Germany suspects could be the result of sabotage, while Russia says sabotage cannot be ruled out right now.
Nord Stream 2 was never put into operation after Germany axed the certification process after Russia invaded Ukraine. Russia, for its part, shut down Nord Stream 1 indefinitely early this month, claiming an inability to repair gas turbines because of the Western sanctions.
After the damage to the pipelines, if they are not repaired quickly, salt water will corrode the infrastructure and make it unusable forever, according to Tagesspiegel’s sources.
Following the suspected sabotage, and the underwater explosions detected, Norway heightened its emergency preparedness for infrastructure, onshore, and offshore installations on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.
“Based on the information we have seen so far, much indicates acts of sabotage,” Norway’s Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Terje Aasland, said.
Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen also said the gas leaks were not accidents.
“It is now the clear assessment by authorities that these are deliberate actions. It was not an accident,” Frederiksen said on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, Sweden said the suspected sabotage was not an attack on the country.
“This is not an attack against Sweden because it is not in our territory,” Foreign Minister Ann Linde said, adding, “It is an international incident.”
The European Union said in a statement on Wednesday, “All available information indicates those leaks are the result of a deliberate act.”
“Any deliberate disruption of European energy infrastructure is utterly unacceptable and will be met with a robust and united response,” the EU added.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.
This narrows the search for culprits. The most vociferous opponents of both pipelines and their owner were always the United States and Poland. This explains the rush by both the US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and the Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki to point the finger of accusation at Russia.
Russia has already cut gas supplies to Germany and the EU via Nord Stream 1 so it didn’t need to sabotage its own pipelines to achieve this. So any accusations against it wouldn’t stand up in a court of law.
But for a country like the United States who has had a long history of opposing Soviet and Russian gas and oil pipelines, there is the motive, the enmity towards Russia, the self-interest of replacing Russian gas supplies with its LNG exports and the geopolitical motive for eliminating for ever any dependence by the EU on Russian gas.
A judge in a court of law looking at this evidence won’t think twice about who is behind the sabotage.
Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
International Oil Economist
Global Energy Expert