Natural gas–the very resource Europe is scrambling to store ahead of the winter cycle–is now freely bubbling up the Baltic Sea from four ruptures on the Nord Stream pipelines.
While Sweden’s Coast Guard reported two leaks in the pipelines the same time that Denmark discovered the other two leaks within its exclusive economic zone, only one leak near the Swedish zone was widely reported–resulting in this belatedly reported fourth leak.
Russia has closed down Nord Stream 1 indefinitely since the start of September and Nord Stream 2 has never been fully operational. But both links are loaded with natural gas reserves, which are now being expelled into international waters.
Copenhagen estimates that the pipelines will empty up its gas by Sunday. Experts say the conduits will be harder to repair once the gas will be replaced with seawater.
As reported by German daily Tagesspiegel, Berlin security agencies are saying that the damage sustained by the pipelines made them “unusable forever.”
There’s a growing consensus from both sides of the pipelines that the leaks were caused by targeted attacks, although they differ on the state actor to blame. The Swedish National Seismology Centre recorded “powerful subsea blasts” on Tuesday around the area of the leaks, strengthening the theory on sabotage.
Russia is blaming the West for the supposed attack, saying that the blasts happened in territory “fully under the control” of US intelligence agencies.
“It happened in the trade and economic zones of Denmark and Sweden,” Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a broadcast, also referring to the Nordic countries as “NATO-centric countries”.
The Kremlin also called the leaks as an “act of state terrorism.”
On the other hand, in a joint letter to the UN Security Council, the two nations said the blasts are “probably caused by explosions equivalent to several hundred kilos of explosives.”
Several nations have also pronounced that the leaks were “deliberate” in nature, also theorizing sabotage. Finland previously said that only a state actor could be capable of acts on such a scale while Poland is pointing fingers at Russia who weaponized its gas exports in retaliation to the Ukraine war-related sanctions it is sustaining.
Dutch gas futures benchmark saw a sharp jump in price following the reports of the leaks, breaching the €210-mark. While it has gone down gradually over the week, the discovery of the fourth leak sent the price jumping back above the €200-mark.
Information for this briefing was found via Bloomberg, The Guardian, and the sources mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.