2 Major Russian Pipelines Hit by Sudden Leaks

No one's quite sure yet what caused the issues to Nord Stream 1, 2, running from Russia to Germany
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 27, 2022 7:21 AM CDT
2 Major Russian Pipelines Hit by Sudden Leaks
A ship works offshore in the Baltic Sea on the natural gas pipeline Nord Stream 2 from Russia to Germany on Nov. 11, 2018.   (Bernd Wuestneck/dpa via AP, File)

Two major Russian gas pipelines have both sprung leaks. That's the word from German and Danish authorities on the Nord Stream 1 and 2, both of which saw a sudden drop in pressure on Monday, per the New York Times. A release from Nord Stream AG announced the pressure drop "on both strings" of the Nord Stream 1 line, followed by a separate release from Germany's energy ministry announcing the same issue affecting Nord Stream 2. The latter leak caused Denmark to erect a "prohibitive zone" for naval traffic within 5 nautical miles of the affected area near the island of Bornholm, per the BBC. "There must be large holes; otherwise pressure would not fall so quickly," Fiete Wulff, a spokesperson for Germany's Federal Network Agency, says of the pipelines, which run through the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany, per the Times. "There is no other way to explain it."

The pipelines were filled with natural gas but weren't active when the alerts went out. That's because deliveries through Nord Stream 1 were brought to a stop earlier this month by Russia's Gazprom energy company over a rift with Germany, while the Nord Stream 2 pipeline was never up and running in the first place, as Germany had nixed green-lighting its operation ahead of the Russian war in Ukraine. Authorities are still puzzling over exactly what caused the leaks, with theories running the gamut from a malfunction to sabotage, per Reuters. The outlet notes that "both pipelines have been flashpoints in an escalating energy war between European capitals and Moscow," which has sent Western economies into turmoil and seen gas prices spike.

"No option can be ruled out right now," Kremlin rep Dmitry Peskov says of what may have led to the leaks, while an unnamed European security source notes, "There are some indications that it is deliberate damage. You have to ask: Who would profit?" What this means for gas delivery to Europe as the winter season looms remains unclear. "The destruction that occurred on the same day simultaneously on ... the offshore gas pipelines of the Nord Stream system is unprecedented," Nord Stream AG notes. "It is not yet possible to estimate the timing of the restoration of the gas transport infrastructure." (Read more Russia stories.)

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