Sweden and Denmark are investigating leaks in Nord Stream gas pipelines

Sweden and Denmark are investigating leaks in both Nord Stream gas pipelines between Russia and Europe and are warning ships to avoid the area.

The Swedish Maritime Administration on Tuesday reported two leaks in the Nord Stream 1 pipeline – one each in Swedish and Danish waters – near the Danish island of Bornholm in the Baltic Sea.

That report came hours after the Danish Energy Agency announced there was a separate leak in the now-defunct Nord Stream 2 pipeline, also near Bornholm.

The leaks in both pipelines will not affect the gas supply to Europe.

Swedish and Danish authorities warned ships to stay away from the region while they investigate the possible causes of the leaks. The Swedish Maritime Administration also warned that planes in the area should maintain a “safety altitude” of 1,000 metres.

The Danish military warned in June that a Russian warship had twice violated its territorial waters north of Bornholm during an annual democracy festival on the island.

German authorities canceled Nord Stream 2 just before Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February, but the pipeline had been filled with gas in anticipation of being operational.

Russia this month halted supplies through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, exacerbating an energy crisis in Europe as countries rush to replace that gas from other sources ahead of the winter.

A new gas pipeline between Norway – now Europe’s biggest gas supplier – and Poland is due to open on Tuesday.

Nord Stream, the pipeline operator, said late Monday that its control center had registered a “depressurization on both legs” of Nord Stream 1. “The reasons are being investigated,” it added.

The two pipelines have been at the center of energy battles between Europe and Russia. Successive German governments have insisted that Nord Stream 2 is a purely commercial venture, although the US and other critics have warned that it is part of the Kremlin’s attempts to increase Europe’s dependence on Russian energy.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz surprised many two days before Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine by canceling the permitting process for the pipeline, which had been completed but was still awaiting certification.

Russia was then accused of arming energy supplies when it cut off flow through the operating Nord Stream 1 pipeline over the summer, before finally saying in early September it would shut them off until the EU lifted sanctions on them.

The move impacted European energy markets and prompted Nordic ministers to warn of a possible Lehman Brothers moment while offering billions in liquidity support to utilities. Germany also nationalized Uniper, its largest gas importer, which was struggling to replace its Russian supplies.

https://www.ft.com/content/85f24052-10a6-48de-8eb1-7a6f8be95759 Sweden and Denmark are investigating leaks in Nord Stream gas pipelines

Adam Bradshaw

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