Two explosions occurred Monday at the Nordstream pipeline that transports gas from Russia into Europe. The explosions were near the Danish island of Bornholm. This caused a huge leak days before the official opening of a pipeline to deliver Norwegian gas to Poland. It was supposed to end Europe’s dependence upon Russia.
Warsaw – Denmark stated Tuesday that it believes that ‘deliberate acts’ by unknown perpetrators caused big leaks in two natural gas pipelines under the Baltic Sea, from Russia to Germany.
Experts and leaders from Europe pointed out possible sabotage in the energy dispute with Russia that was triggered by the conflict in Ukraine. Even though the pipelines are full of gas, they do not supply it to Europe.
Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen stated, “It’s the authorities’ clear assessment of these are deliberate actions — and not accidental.”
She said that there was no evidence to suggest who might be behind the leaks. Frederiksen, however, rejected the notion that the incident was an attack against Denmark. The leaks were in international waters.
This incident was overshadowed by the opening of the long-awaited pipeline to bring Norwegian gas to Poland, which will help to increase the continent’s energy independence.
According to Bjorn Lund (director of the Swedish National Seismic Network), the first explosion was heard early Monday morning southeast of the Danish island of Bornholm. The second stronger explosion northeast of the island was about the same magnitude as a magnitude-2.3 earthquake. The explosions were also recorded by Seismic Stations in Denmark, Norway, and Finland.
Lund stated, “There is no doubt that this isn’t an earthquake.”
Morten Bodskov, the Danish defense minister, will be visiting Brussels on Wednesday to discuss the leaks and meet with Jens Stoltenberg (NATO chief).
Jeppe Kofod, Denmark’s Foreign Minister, stated that Poland, Germany, and Sweden have been informed and that they will “inform and reach out” to Russia in this instance.
He stated that Denmark’s foreign intelligence agency didn’t perceive any military threat to Denmark following the three Nord Stream 1 or 2 leaks.
Images released by the Danish military show that they created a foamy area on the water’s surface. Dan Jorgensen, Danish Energy Minister, stated that it was impossible to predict how long the gas leakage will continue as the gas is not yet turned off. It was not known when the gas would be turned off.
Nord Stream AG, the German operator of the pipelines said that it is preparing a survey in collaboration with local authorities to assess the damage.
A company statement stated that it was not possible to predict a timeline for the restoration of gas transport infrastructure. The investigation will reveal the causes of the incident.
Acting Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson in Sweden stated that it was “probably a case of subversion” but not an attack against Sweden.
Andersson said that neighboring Norway, which is oil-rich, had informed him about the increased drone activity in the North Sea and the steps they took in connection.”
Ann Linde, Foreign Minister of Sweden, stated that Sweden “(is not) ruling out any scenarios” and would not speculate on motives or actors.
Methane is the second largest contributor to climate change, after carbon dioxide. David Hastings, a Gainesville, Florida chemical oceanographer, stated that much of the gas would rise through the water and into the atmosphere. He stated that methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, has the greatest environmental impact.
United Nations data shows that methane has a climate impact of 82.5 times greater than carbon dioxide in 20 years. This is because it absorbs heat from the sun.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki described the events as “an act of subversion.”
Morawiecki stated that the Russian dominance in the gas sphere was ending. “An era marked by threats, blackmail, and extortion.”
Although no evidence has been presented by officials regarding the cause of the leaks, there was widespread distrust in Russia. Some feared that Moscow had sabotaged its infrastructure to spite them or warn of their vulnerability to attack. The leaks raised questions about whether or not energy infrastructure was being targeted, and resulted in a slight increase in natural gas prices.
Morawiecki stated that “we can clearly see this is an act de sabotage”, which probably signifies a next step in the escalation of the situation in Ukraine.”
Antony Blinken, US Secretary of State, stated to reporters that American officials had not confirmed any sabotage or attack.
Anders Puck Nielsen is a researcher at the Centre for Maritime Operations of the Royal Danish Defence College. He said that the timing of the leaks was “conspicuous” considering the Baltic Pipe ceremony. Perhaps someone wanted to send “a signal that something could occur to the Norwegian gas,” he said.
Analysts at Eurasia Group stated that the Nord Stream pipelines will not be able to transport any gas to Europe this winter due to the extent of the damage. Russia stopped flow on the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, which is 1,224 kilometers (760 miles) long. Germany blocked the Nord Stream 2 pipeline from starting.
Analysts Jason Bush and Henning Gloystein wrote that depending on the extent of the damage, the leaked lines could even be permanently closed.
Puck Nielsen stated that possible sabotage is technically not difficult. You just need a boat. You need to be able to safely handle explosives.
He said that Russia was the only actor that would benefit from disruptions and more chaos in Europe’s gas market.
Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesperson, said that the leaks could have been caused by sabotage.
“This is a unique situation and requires urgent investigation. He said that the news made him extremely concerned during a conference call with reporters.
Danish and Swedish maritime authorities issued warnings about navigation and created a restricted area for vessels. There may be a loss of buoyancy and ignition risk above and below the water.
Since the invasion of Ukraine in February, the Nord Stream pipelines have been the center of an energy conflict between Russia and Europe. Prices have soared due to a plunge in Russian gas supplies, which has prompted governments to ease the burden of sky-high energy bills for businesses and households as winter approaches. There are also fears of recession and rationing due to the crisis.
The Baltic Pipe is an important element of the European Union’s quest for energy security. It will begin bringing Norwegian gas through Denmark, along the Baltic Sea to Poland from October 1.
Simone Tagliapietra is an energy expert at the Bruegel think-tank in Brussels. She speculated that the leaks might have been caused either by Russian sabotage, or anti-Russian sabotage.
He suggested that Russia could signal it “is breaking forever with Western Europe” by launching its pipeline with Norway.
Tagliapietra stated that “In all cases, this is a stark reminding of the exposure risk of Europe’s gas infrastructure.”