Leaks discovered on Nord Stream pipelines
Sweden and Denmark have warned ships to avoid an area of the Baltic Sea after unexplained leaks were discovered in both Nord Stream pipelines, it emerged on Tuesday.
Two leaks have been discovered on Nord Stream 1, which carries gas from Russia to Europe, and one on the now defunct Nord Stream 2. Germany cancelled Nord Stream 2 in the build-up to Russia invasion of Ukraine, but it was filled with gas in anticipation of going live.
In a statement, Denmark’s energy minister Dan Jorgenson said: “Yesterday, a leak was discovered on one of the two gas pipelines between Russia and Denmark, Nord Stream 2. The pipeline is not in operation, but contains natural gas, which is now leaking," Reuters reported.
“Authorities have now been informed that there have been two more leaks on Nord Stream 1, which is also not operational but contains gas.”
A spokesman for the Swedish Maritime Administration told Reuters that of the two leaks on Nord Stream 1, one was in the Swedish economic zone and the other in the Danish economic zone, north east of the Danish island of Bornholm.
Shipping has been restricted while the leaks are investigated, and it is understood that aircraft have been cautioned to stay at a safe altitude of 1,000m.
It is not currently known what is causing the leaks, with Russia's Gazprom, the state-owned energy giant that operates the pipeline, so far yet to comment. But SP Angel noted: “Putin has idled the pipeline flows. However, concerns are being raised over potential sabotage following an unusual simultaneous pressure drop at both lines.”
Supplies to Europe via Nord Stream 1, which have been steadily reduced since Russia invaded Ukraine, were suspended entirely earlier this month. Moscow said Western sanctions had left it unable to fix technical problems with the pipeline, but European politicians have dismissed the explanation and instead accuse Russia of deliberating withholding supplies.