5 Answers to the Most Urgent Nord Stream Pipeline Leak Questions

Photo by Mike Mareen from Shutterstock

What really happened?

The operator of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline disclosed a sudden drop in pressure overnight on Monday, and a spokesperson even suggested there might have been a leak. This was immediately followed by a Danish Energy Authority statement that only strengthened the affirmation.

A couple of hours later, Nord Stream AG, which is an operator of another undersea gas pipeline from Russia to Germany, took the matter into its own hands and looked into a drop in pressure in Nord Stream 1.

Sweden’s Maritime Administration stated on Tuesday that they warned about two leaks on Nord Stream 1 in Swedish and Danish waters. Anders Puck Nielsen, a well-known researcher with the Center for Maritime Operations at the Royal Danish Defence College believes that the timing of the leaks was nothing but “conspicuous”, taking into consideration the ceremony for the Baltic Pipe, which is a new system that will bring Norway’s gas to Poland.

He mentioned that someone might have sought to send a signal that something might happen to the Norwegian gas.

Where are the leaks?

Two leaks were instantly discovered on the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, which shut off entirely delivering gas to Europe this summer. They were both in an area northeast of the Danish island of Bornholm. Danish authorities commanded ships to stay clear of Bornholm within five nautical mile radius after the Nord Stream 2’s leak.

Both pipelines still have some gas that’s left under pressure. Each line of the pipelines have around 100,000 24-tonne concrete-weight coated steel pipes that are laid on the seabed. The pipelines have a continuous internal diameter of 1.153m, as Nord Stream showed.

What was the main cause of the leaks?

It’s still not clear. Analysts and experts would say that such leaks are rare, and Nord Stream AG even called leaks on three strings of the offshore gas pipelines completely “unprecedented”. Possible causes could be either technical malfunctions, or lack of maintenance, but most probably sabotage.

The Swedish National Seismic Network even recorded two immense releases of energy right before that. However, Ukraine is certain that the leaks are the result of a horrible terrorist attack that was carried out by Moscow.

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