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Nord Stream sues insurers over pipeline explosions

Published by , Editorial Assistant
World Pipelines,

Nord Stream is suing insurers including Lloyd’s of London for about €400 million in the High Court for refusing to cover explosions that destroyed gas infrastructure connecting western Europe to Russia.

Court documents show the Switzerland-based company brought a lawsuit last month claiming that insurers “failed to pay” for damage done by underwater explosions that mangled and deformed the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines at the bottom of the Baltic Sea.

Lloyd’s of London and Arch Insurance are listed as representative defendants on behalf of the multiple insurers on the policies.

Nord Stream’s “preliminary and high-level estimate” of the costs to remove water from the pipelines and stabilise them, undertake a repair and replace lost gas is between €1.2 billion and €1.35 billion, according to the legal documents.

The cause of the explosions, which took place in international waters in September 2022, has not been determined.

Russia was initially suspected of sabotage but has denied responsibility. Ukraine also denied involvement after media reports in the US and Germany suggested pro-Ukrainian operatives may have been behind the attacks.

Both Denmark and Sweden have dropped their investigations, saying they did not have enough evidence to charge anybody, leaving only Germany at present conducting a probe.

Nord Stream, owned by Gazprom, Wintershall Dea, Eon, Gasunie and Engie, said those involved were “unknown”.

The claim is among the largest filed in London’s High Court over the past year, according to litigation data analysis group Solomonic.

The case is being levelled against Lloyd’s of London among insurers that provided the so-called primary policies, which take the first losses from any event.

The second defendant is a group of insurers led by an arm of Bermuda-based Arch, which provided the so-called excess cover. Such policies typically kick in after the primary policies have paid out.

Nord Stream is arguing the explosions were a separate occurrence for the purposes of both sets of policies. The claim of €400 million is split evenly between the primary and excess groups. The company also claimed for about €3.7 million for a damage survey, plus other costs.

Lloyd’s of London and Arch declined to comment. Nord Stream said: “We are not in a position to provide any detailed comments to the legal proceedings.”

Neither pipeline was in operation at the time of the explosions. Supplies in Nord Stream 1 were halted by Russia after its full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Nord Stream 2 never came into operation after Germany cancelled its approval process.



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