Europe investigating ‘attacks’ on Russian gas pipelines Europe – World
Stockholm: Europe was investigating on Tuesday what Germany and Denmark said were the attacks that caused a major leak into the Baltic Sea from two Russian pipelines at the center of the energy standoff.
But it was unclear who could be behind the leaks that were first reported on Monday or any foul play, if proven, that Russia and European partners have spent billions of dollars on Nord Stream pipelines.
German Economy Minister Robert Habeck told business leaders that the leaks were due to targeted attacks on infrastructure and that Berlin now knew for certain that “they were not caused by natural phenomena or incidents or physical fatigue”.
Poland’s prime minister blamed sabotage without citing evidence, Denmark’s premier said the leaks were apparently caused by deliberate acts, and Swedish police said they had launched an investigation into possible “gross sabotage”. Is.
Russia, which curtailed gas delivery to Europe after the West imposed sanctions on Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, also said sabotage was a possibility and the leaks undermined the continent’s energy security.
A senior Ukrainian official, without providing evidence, described the incident as a Russian attack to destabilize Europe.
“We see clearly that this is an act of sabotage, which relates to the next stage of the situation in Ukraine,” Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said at the opening of a new pipeline between Norway and Poland.
Seismologists in Denmark and Sweden said they had recorded two powerful explosions around the leak on Monday.
The Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS) said: “The signs do not resemble earthquake signals. They usually resemble those recorded from eruptions.”
And seismologists from Sweden’s Uppsala University, who collaborates with GEUS, said the second, larger eruption “corresponds to more than 100 kilograms (kg) of dynamite”, adding that the explosions were in water not under the ocean.
The Nord Stream pipelines have been flashpoints in an escalating energy war between capitals in Europe and Moscow that has battered major Western economies, raised gas prices and fueled a hunt for alternative supplies.
Potential sabotage on gas pipelines would be ‘in nobody’s interest’, says Blinken
“Germany is a country that knows how to defend itself. And Europe is a continent that can protect its energy infrastructure,” said Hebeck of Germany. The energy supply of Europe’s largest economy was not affected.
The Danish armed forces said the largest gas leak caused a surface disturbance greater than 1 km (0.6 mi) in diameter.
The leaks were huge and it could probably take a week before the gas from the Nord Stream 2 pipeline can stop, said Kristofer Botzouw, the head of Denmark’s energy agency.
Ships can lose buoyancy if they enter the area.
“The ocean’s surface is full of methane, which means there is an increased risk of explosions in the area,” Botzouw said.
The Swedish Maritime Administration (SMA) stated that there were two leaks on Nord Stream 1, one in the Swedish economic zone and the other in the Danish area, northeast of Bornholm, Denmark.
“We are keeping extra vigil to ensure that no ships come too close to the site,” an SMA spokesperson said.
Danish Prime Minister Mette Fredriksson said sabotage could not be ruled out. “We’re talking about three leaks with some distance between them, and so it’s hard to imagine that this is a coincidence,” she said.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called it “very concerning news. In fact, we are talking about some damage of an unclear nature to the pipeline in the Danish economic sector.” He said this has affected the energy security of the continent.
At the time the leak was discovered, neither pipeline was pumping gas into Europe, but events would eliminate any remaining hopes that Europe could receive fuel via Nord Stream 1 before winter.
Operator Nord Stream said the damage was “unprecedented”.
Gazprom, a Kremlin-controlled company that monopolizes Russian gas exports by pipeline, declined to comment.
“There is some indication that this is intentional harm,” a European security source said, adding that it is still too early to draw conclusions. “You have to ask: who will benefit?”
Meanwhile, Norway said it would strengthen security at its oil and gas installations in the wake of leaks and reports of drone activities in the North Sea, its Energy Minister Terje Ausland said in a statement.
Danish officials called for increased preparedness levels in the electricity and gas sector, a move that would require protection for power installations and facilities.
cut off supply
Russia reduced gas supplies to Europe via Nord Stream 1 before suspending the flow completely in August, blaming Western sanctions for technical difficulties. European politicians say it was an excuse to cut off gas supplies.
The new Nord Stream 2 pipeline was yet to enter commercial operation. Germany’s plan to use it to supply gas was scrapped by what Moscow calls a “special military operation” in February, days before Russia sent troops to Ukraine.
“Several underwater leaks mean that neither pipeline will deliver any gas to the EU in the coming winter, regardless of the political developments in the Ukraine war,” Eurasia Group wrote in a note.
European gas prices rose on the news, with the benchmark October Dutch price climbing nearly 10% on Tuesday. Prices are still below this year’s peak, but 200% higher than at the beginning of September 2021.