Danish Prime Minister Metter Frederiksen says her government views the gas leaks off a Danish island in the Baltic Sea as “deliberate actions.”
Asked whether it was an attack on Denmark, Frederiksen replied Tuesday that the leaks happened in international waters and “the answer is thus no.”
Explosions rattled the Baltic Sea before the unusual leaks were discovered on two natural gas pipelines running underwater from Russia to Germany. Some European leaders and experts are pointing to possible sabotage during an energy standoff with Russia provoked by the war in Ukraine.
On Wednesday, Danish defense minister Morten Bodskov will travel to Brussels to meet with NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg to talk about the gas leaks.
Explosions rattled the Baltic Sea before unusual leaks were discovered on two natural gas pipelines running underwater from Russia to Germany, seismologists said Tuesday. Some European leaders and experts are pointing to possible sabotage during an energy standoff with Russia provoked by the war in Ukraine.
The three leaks on the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines, which are filled with natural gas but not delivering the fuel to Europe, overshadowed the inauguration of a long-awaited pipeline that will bring Norwegian gas to Poland to bolster the continent’s energy independence from Moscow.
The first explosion was recorded early Monday southeast of the Danish island of Bornholm, said Bjorn Lund, director of the Swedish National Seismic Network. A second, stronger blast northeast of the island that night was equivalent to a magnitude-2.3 earthquake. Seismic stations in Norway and Finland also registered the explosions.
“There’s no doubt this is not an earthquake,” Lund said.
The gas leaks created a foamy white area on the water’s surface, images released by Denmark’s military show.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki called the events “an act of sabotage,” while Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said she could not rule it out. During a ceremony near Goleniow, in northwestern Poland, they and Polish President Andrzej Duda symbolically opened the valve of a yellow pipe belonging to the Baltic Pipe, a new system sending Norwegian gas across Denmark and the Baltic Sea to Poland.
“The era of Russian domination in the gas sphere is coming to an end,” Morawiecki declared. “An era that was marked by blackmail, threats and extortion.”
The escaped natural gas is made up almost entirely of methane. Methane is the second biggest contributor to climate change after carbon dioxide. David Hastings, a retired chemical oceanographer in Gainesville, Florida, said much of the gas would rise through the ocean and enter the atmosphere. “There is no question that the largest environmental impact of this is to the climate, because methane is a really potent greenhouse gas,” he said.
According to the most recent report from the IPCC earlier this year, methane is 82.5 times worse for the climate than carbon dioxide over a 20-year time frame, because it so effectively absorbs the heat of the sun.
No official presented evidence of what caused the Nord Stream problems, but with distrust of Russia running high, some feared Moscow sabotaged its own infrastructure out of spite or to warn that pipelines are vulnerable to attack. The leaks in international waters off the coast of Denmark and Sweden raised the stakes on whether energy infrastructure was being targeted and led to a small bump in natural gas prices.
“We can clearly see that this is an act of sabotage, an act that probably means a next step of escalation in the situation that we are dealing with in Ukraine,” Morawiecki said.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters that American officials have not confirmed sabotage or an attack.
Anders Puck Nielsen, a researcher with the Center for Maritime Operations at the Royal Danish Defence College, said the timing of the leaks was “conspicuous” given the ceremony for the Baltic Pipe. He said perhaps someone sought “to send a signal that something could happen to the Norwegian gas.”
The extent of the damage means the Nord Stream pipelines are unlikely to be able to carry any gas to Europe this winter even if there was political will to bring them online, analysts at the Eurasia Group said. Russia has halted flows on the 1,224-kilometer (760-mile) Nord Stream 1 pipeline during the war, while Germany prevented them from ever starting in the parallel Nord Stream 2.
“Depending on the scale of the damage, the leaks could even mean a permanent closure of both lines,” analysts Henning Gloystein and Jason Bush wrote.
They noted that undersea pipelines are designed in a way that they are not accidentally damaged and leaks are rare.
Puck Nielsen said of possible sabotage that “technically speaking, this is not difficult. It just requires a boat. It requires some divers that know how to handle explosive devices.”
“But I think if we look at who would actually benefit from disturbances, more chaos on the gas market in Europe, I think there’s basically only one actor right now that actually benefits from more uncertainty, and that is Russia,” he said.
Asked if the leaks may have been caused by sabotage, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said “no version could be excluded.”
“This is an unprecedented situation that requires an urgent investigation. We are extremely worried by this news,” he said in a conference call with reporters.
The Danish and Swedish maritime authorities issued navigation warnings. On the eastern coast of Bornholm, the Danish Emergency Management Agency installed equipment that measures the concentration of gas in the air. Local police said “authorities assess that there are no safety or health risks.”
Denmark also established a prohibited area to ensure that ships avoid the leaks. Ships may lose buoyancy, and there may also be a risk of ignition above the water and in the air, authorities said.
The Nord Stream pipelines have been at the center of an energy clash between Europe and Russia since the invasion of Ukraine in late February. Plunging Russian gas supplies have caused prices to soar, pressuring governments to help ease the pain of sky-high energy bills for households and businesses as winter nears. The crisis also has raised fears of rationing and recession.
The Baltic Pipe is a prominent element in the European Union’s search for energy security and is to start bringing Norwegian gas through Denmark and along the Baltic Sea to Poland on Oct. 1.
Simone Tagliapietra, an energy expert with the Bruegel think tank in Brussels, speculated that the leaks could have been caused by Russian sabotage or anti-Russian sabotage.
One possibility is Russia signaling it “is breaking forever with Western Europe and Germany” as Poland inaugurates its pipeline with Norway, he said.
“In any case, this is a stark reminder of the exposure to risk of Europe’s gas infrastructure,” Tagliapietra said.
Andrzej Sikora, the head of the Energy Studies Institute think tank in Poland, said he has been warning of the possibility of attacks on pipeline infrastructure since the construction of Nord Stream 1 in 2010. He has been urging steps to ensure the security of the Baltic Pipe, which at one point crosses paths with both Nord Stream pipelines.
Source: AP news
For Europe it just keeps getting worse winter is approaching and the continent is desperately trying to avoid an energy crisis it is stockpiling gas and rationing supplies if it fails to build reserves right now Europe would be staring at rolling blackouts shuttered factories and a deep recession.
It is not an easy task and now European leaders have a new problem to deal with the shortages could begin sooner than Europe predicted the pipelines that Supply gas to Europe are leaking the ones that bring gas from Russia to Europe they are damaged.
There are leaks at both the North stream one and the north stream two doesn’t that sound suspicious already Russia has got gas supplies to the region and now suddenly the pipelines are leaking is this just a coincidence that’s exactly what leaders of two European countries are wondering as well Germany and and Denmark suspect this is an act of sabotage is that the truth is someone trying to sabotage Europe’s gas supplies.
Tonight we decode Europe’s latest energy crisis first let’s tell you about those leaks here is what’s happening Russia had built two pipelines to supply gas to Europe the north stream one and the north stream two both the supply lines are under the Baltic Sea last night both pipelines developed mysterious leaks.
Officials monitoring the pipelines saw a sudden drop in pressure Sweden was the first one to report the leaks it discovered two leaks on North stream one soon after that more reports came out Denmark discovered similar problems on the North stream too this pipeline is not really in use it was supposed to be operationalized but the plans were shelved in February this year.
It happened just days before Russia invaded Ukraine Russian troops had amassed around Ukraine by then their offensive pretty much killed any plans to operationalize North stream too so Europe’s Supply will not be impacted a lot if this pipeline is damaged the bigger worry are the leaks at the North stream won it is the main pipeline that supplies gas to Europe here are some quick facts in 2021 Russia supplied nearly 40 percent of the eu’s gas needs through the north stream one before the war several major European economies depended on Russian gas supplies.
Half of Germany’s gas Imports are Russian France got a quarter of its Supply from Russia Italy got 46 percent of its gas from Russia since the war on Ukraine started the Russian supply has not been steady Moscow has cut North stream’s capacity to just 20 percent it blamed the Western sanctions for this Russia claimed important equipment to run the pipeline is being held up now the same pipeline is leaking there is no clear explanation yet no one can say for sure what is happening but some claims have emerged Swedish seismologists have come up with an assessment.
They say that they detected some explosions near the north stream Pipelines apparently they happened in the same area as the gas leaks Germany is investigating this as an act of sabotage the evidence points to a violent act rather than a technical issue that is what a German security official told an American News Outlet Denmark’s prime minister has doubts as well saying it is hard to imagine these are coincidences we cannot rule out sabotage Poland also is Raising concerns consider these comments from the Polish prime minister.
We don’t know all the details but we see clearly that it is an act of sabotage related to The Next Step of escalation in Ukraine so key European leaders are crying foul they are obviously hinting at a potential Russian hand in the past the European Union has accused Russia of blackmailing the region Moscow of course has hit back at Europe but this time the Kremlin is singing the same tune Russia also fears the north stream could have been sabotaged this is a very alarming news indeed we are talking about some destruction in the pipe but it’s not yet clear what kind of pressure has really dropped in the Danish economic zone this is a completely unprecedented situation that requires an urgent investigation.
We are extremely worried with this news foreign wants an investigation will it work with Europe to find out what really happened or is Moscow just posturing the USS it is ready to support Europe but it seems like the European Union has been taken aback today Brussels refrain from blaming anyone at this stage it’s very premature to speculate on what the causes are as I said we’ve been informed about the situation by the member states consent and the member states are looking to this issue we will remain in close contact with them but it’s really not the moment to speculate on what the potential causes could be but those statements fail to reassure the markets gas prices spiked in Europe today.
This is a sensitive situation as of today there are no signs of any serious disruption to Europe’s gas supplies but even just the fear of A disruption is causing the markets to react sharply the biggest casualty of this situation could be Germany experts say the German economy is already sending recession signals businesses are worried about future prospects they say high energy costs are putting pressure on the profit margins even German citizens are concerned they are worried if they will be able to make ends meet.
Safety and Security
“Nord Stream use virtually impenetrable steel pipes of up to 41 millimetres thick, with an external concrete coating of up to 110 millimetres.” from Nord-StreamHLS.Today espoo-report-key-issue-paper-maritime-safety_20090201