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Sabotage Suspected At Russia’s Nord Stream Gas Pipelines

Danish and Swedish authorities are investigating unexplained leaks of gas in the 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.   

Both Nord Stream 1 and 2 are currently offline. Russia shut down Nord Stream 1 indefinitely early this month, saying Western sanctions had prevented turbine repairs. Nord Stream 2, on the other hand, had its certification suspended by Germany when Russia invaded Ukraine.

This week, Danish and Swedish authorities reported leaks from both pipelines - not operational but containing gas - in the Baltic Sea.

European officials and analysts say the leaks cannot be coincidental, while a German official says evidence points to sabotage rather than a mere technical issue.

On Monday, the Danish Energy Agency said that authorities were informed about a pressure drop in the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

“The preliminary assessment indicates that a leak has occurred from one of the two Nord Stream 2 pipelines in the Danish area Southeast of Dueodde at Bornholm … from where natural gas is leaking,” Denmark said, while the Danish Maritime Authority released a navigational warning and established a prohibitive zone within 5 nautical miles of the pipeline, as it is dangerous for naval traffic.

The Swedish authorities also issued warnings for vessel navigation and aircraft after leaks were detected at Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2, the Swedish Maritime Administration said on Tuesday. The Swedish agency has no information on the cause of the leaks, it said.

Germany, the endpoint of Nord Stream and until recently the biggest gas buyer from Russia, suspects the leaks are the result of sabotage rather than technical issues, a German security official told Bloomberg on Tuesday. 

Russia, for its part, said that right now, nothing should be ruled out.

“Obviously, there is some kind of damage to the pipeline. No option can be ruled out until the results of the investigation are released,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Russian reporters on Tuesday when asked if the Kremlin thinks this could have been sabotage.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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