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Four leaks discovered in Nord Stream gas pipes

Published by , Editorial Assistant
World Pipelines,

A new leak has been discovered on the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea, bringing the total number of ruptures to four, according to the Swedish Coast Guard’s Command Center.

Four leaks discovered in Nord Stream gas pipes

Gas has been bubbling up from the pipelines since earlier this week, with Denmark estimating that the links would empty by Sunday. Several governments have called the actions ‘deliberate’ and ‘sabotage’, with Finland on Wednesday noting that only a state actor could be capable of acts on such a scale.

The incident has prompted increased security on energy infrastructure across Europe, with some, such as Poland, pointing the finger at Russia, which is waging war in Ukraine and has curbed gas flows to Europe. Norway is now Europe’s biggest gas exporter and its largest energy companies said Wednesday that they are boosting security around their offshore assets.

The Nord Stream pipelines traverse the Baltic Sea to Germany from Russia, running on the seabed in international waters. Two leaks are in Sweden’s exclusive economic zone, and two in Denmark’s economic zone, Swedish newswire TT reported. The two bubbling areas above the leaks in Sweden’s economic zone measure as much as 900 m (2950 ft) in diameter and about 180 meters, respectively, according to the Coast Guard, the newswire said.

The pipelines were already out of action, but any hope that the Kremlin might have turned the taps back on at some point have now been dashed. Police in Denmark and Sweden are investigating the events.

Russia has been squeezing energy supplies to Europe for months, engaging in a cat-and-mouse game as it tries to exert maximum pressure on Ukraine’s allies. Europe has responded by filling up gas stores and trying to source alternative supplies.

For now, it looks like those efforts will be enough to get Europe through this winter, though questions remain over the following one. The bloc got about 40% of its pipeline gas from Russia before the war, a figure that now stands at about 9%.

Currently, more than half the gas in the damaged Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 gas pipelines has left the pipes and the remaining volume is expected to be gone by Sunday, the head of the Danish Energy Agency, Kristoffer Bottzauw said on Wednesday.

The UN Security Council will convene on Friday at the request of Russia to discuss damage to the pipelines, the French UN mission, which holds the presidency of the 15-member council for September, said.

Russia's embassy in Washington said Moscow had asked for the meeting as it "insists on the need for a comprehensive and objective examination of the circumstances of the unprecedented attacks on Russian pipelines".

The embassy, in an early Thursday statement on its Telegram channel, also accused the US of attempts to "squeeze out" Russia from the energy market through "non-market methods and sanctions."

The Nord Stream pipelines have been flashpoints in an escalating energy war between capitals in Europe and Moscow that has damaged major Western economies and sent gas prices soaring.

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