Foreign, Gas | Enormous damage to Nord Stream 1: Submarine attack suspected

Two leaks occurred on the Nord Stream 1 line on Monday evening. Both leaks are said to have occurred northeast of Bornholm in Denmark. One leak is in Swedish waters, the other in Danish waters. This is written by Danish TV 2.

Both of the two lines of Nord Stream 1 are affected, says a spokesman for the operator Nord Stream AG to the German news agency DPA. The capacity suddenly dropped to zero on Monday, and an investigation has been opened.

In addition, there is a third leak on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.

The leaks must be far apart.

According to Nord Stream AG, operator of the pipeline network, the pipelines have suffered damage that is “unprecedented”, according to Reuters. They also state that it is impossible to say how quickly they will be able to repair them.

Doubts about accident

German authorities inform the news agency that they do not know what caused the drop in pressure. According to the German newspaper Tagesspiel, one of the theories of the German government is that the cables have been attacked by submarines or attack divers.

– We cannot imagine a scenario that does not involve a targeted attack. Everything suggests that this is not a coincidence, a source with insight into the work of the federal authorities tells the newspaper.

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Professor of industrial energy policy at Chalmers University of Technology, Tomas Kåberger, does not think the leaks are due to an accident either.

Although such infrastructure can theoretically be damaged when ships drop anchor, it is unlikely that several pipes in the Baltic Sea will be affected by such accidents at the same time, says Tomas Kåberger.

– It is unlikely that random events will cause both lines to be damaged, says Kåberger to TT.

Ignition hazard

Nord Stream 1 is the old gas pipeline that transported gas from Russia to Germany.

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Nord Stream 1 consists of two pipelines between Vyborg in Russia and Greifswald in Germany. Laying began in 2005, and they were commissioned in 2011 and 2012. The pipelines are 1,222 km long, and they were the longest submarine pipelines in the world when they were opened in 2011 and 2012.

It is unknown how much gas may have leaked into the sea, but it could be a matter of gigantic amounts. According to The Guardian, Nord Stream 2 has 300 cubic meters of gas.

The Danish Maritime Authority has sent out a navigation warning and set up a prohibited area, to ensure that ships stay away from the leak. It is forbidden to sail within an area of ​​ten kilometers from the gas leak.

– Ships can lose buoyancy if they sail into the area, and there can also be a risk of ignition over water and in the air. Against this background, a prohibition zone with a radius of 5 nautical miles for ships and a prohibition zone for aircraft of 1 kilometer has been established, writes the ministry, according to Danish TV 2.

Raises preparedness

The Danish Energy Agency asks Energinet, which is responsible for the overall operation of the Danish electricity and gas system, to raise the level of sector preparedness in both sectors to the second highest level after the leaks.

– Breakage of gas pipelines is extremely rare, and therefore we see reason to raise the level of preparedness as a result of the events we have seen in the last 24 hours. We want to ensure thorough monitoring of Denmark’s critical infrastructure in order to strengthen security of supply going forward, says director of the Danish Energy Agency, Kristoffer Böttzauw.

None of yesterday’s events currently have any significance for the supply of gas to Europe and Denmark, as none of the pipelines were in operation. It is too early to say anything about the causes of the incidents, writes the Danish Energy Agency.

On Monday, a sudden drop in pressure was also reported in Nord Stream 2, which runs from Russia to Germany via the Baltic Sea. In a short time the pressure dropped from 105 bar to 7 bar.

Soon after, the Danish maritime authority Søfartsstyrelsen announced that a gas leak had been observed southeast of the island of Bornholm in the Baltic Sea, where the pipeline runs.

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– Has turned gas into a weapon

Before the weekend, researcher and teacher Ståle Ulriksen at the Norwegian Naval Academy said that Russia considers the throttling of gas to Europe a weapon in the conflict with NATO, and that an attack on gas pipelines is the most likely scenario.

– Russia perceives that they are at war with NATO. In the North Sea, we thus have a strategically important gas production that has never been more important for Europe than now. Europe would have found itself in an extremely difficult situation if gas deliveries from Norway had stopped, Ulriksen said.

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– I think it is a bit unconscious of Norway to sit on such large resources, and to know how important these are, while at the same time taking measures to defend the resources to a small extent, he said.

Stopped by the war

The gas pipeline Nord Stream 2 was almost completely built and filled with gas. But the faucet never managed to be opened before Russia invaded Ukraine. Due to the war, the German authorities chose not to put the pipeline into operation.

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Since then, Russia has shut down the gas supply to Germany via the old Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline. Russian authorities claim it is due to maintenance problems, which German authorities question.

The incidents at the gas pipelines therefore do not affect the energy supply to Germany, according to the German authorities.

The case is updated.

The article is in Norwegian

Tags: Foreign Gas Enormous damage Nord Stream Submarine attack suspected

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