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NORD STREAM

Nord Stream 2 pipeline has stopped leaking gas under Baltic Sea: spokesman

The Nord Stream 2 pipeline is no longer leaking under the Baltic Sea because an equilibrium has been reached between the gas and water pressure, a spokesman told AFP.

nord stream 1 gas terminal
This file photo from 2011 shows a view of the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline terminal. Gas leaks identified on the twin Nord Stream 2 pipeline have now stopped. Photo: John MACDOUGALL / AFP

“The water pressure has more or less closed the pipeline so that the gas which is inside can’t go out,” Nord Stream 2 spokesman Ulrich Lissek said.

“The conclusion is that there is still gas in the pipeline,” he added.

Asked how much gas was believed to be in the pipeline, Lissek said: “That is the one-million-dollar question.”

Information on the status of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline leak, which was significantly larger, was not immediately available.

The Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines, which connect Russia to Germany, have been at the centre of geopolitical tensions as Russia cut gas supplies to Europe in suspected retaliation against Western sanctions following Moscow’s
invasion of Ukraine.

While the pipelines are not currently in operation, they both still contained gas before they fell victim to apparent sabotage, producing four leaks.

Nord stream leak site

One of the Nord Stream leak sites photographed by the Swedish Coast Guard. A Danish-Swedish report said on Friday that the leaks were caused by blasts equal to “several hundred kilos of TNT”. Photo: Swedish Coast Guard.
Gas nearly exhausted

A Danish-Swedish report released on Friday concluded the leaks were caused by underwater explosions corresponding to hundreds of kilogrammes of explosives.

“All available information indicates that those explosions are the result of a deliberate act,” the countries said.

The source of the explosions has remained a mystery, however, with both Moscow and Washington denying responsibility.

All the leaks, which were discovered on Monday, are in the Baltic Sea off the Danish island of Bornholm.

Two of the leaks are located in the Swedish exclusive economic zone, and the two others in the Danish one.

Lissek said Nord Stream 2 had informed the Danish energy regulator earlier Saturday that the pipeline had stopped leaking gas.

Danish authorities had said the leaks would continue until the gas in the pipelines is exhausted, which is expected to occur on Sunday.

The Swedish coastguard said late Friday that the leaks on Nord Stream 2 showed signs of weakening due to the exhaustion of the gas contained in the pipes.

The diameter of the sea surface “boiling” caused by the leak in the Swedish exclusive economic zone was now only 20 metres (66 feet) wide, 10 times smaller than at the start.

The leak on Nord Stream 1 had also started to weaken on Friday, with surface diameter down to 600 metres in diameter, down from between 900 and 1,000 metres on Monday.

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ENERGY

Norway and Germany seek Nato-led cooperation for key undersea structures

Germany and Norway want to start a NATO-led alliance to protect critical underwater infrastructure, their leaders said on Wednesday, weeks after explosions hit two key gas pipelines in the fallout from the war in Ukraine.

Norway and Germany seek Nato-led cooperation for key undersea structures

 “We are in the process of asking the NATO Secretary General to set up a coordination office for the protection of underwater infrastructure,” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz told a press conference in Berlin.

“We take the protection of our critical infrastructure very seriously and nobody should believe that attacks will remain without consequences,” he said.

Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store said the alliance would be “an informal initiative to exchange between civilian and also military actors” with NATO providing “a centre, a coordination point”.

Underwater cables and pipelines were “arteries of the modern economy” and it was necessary to create “a coordinated joint effort to ensure security for this infrastructure”, he said.

Scholz said he and Store would propose the plan to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who is due in Berlin for a security conference. The Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines off the Danish island of Bornholm were targeted by two huge explosions at the end of September.

The pipelines, which connect Russia to Germany, had been at the centre of geopolitical tensions as Moscow cut gas supplies to Europe in suspected
retaliation to Western sanctions over the invasion of Ukraine.

Although they were not in operation when the leaks occurred, they both still contained gas which spewed up through the water and into the atmosphere.

Russia and Western countries, particularly the United States, have traded bitter barbs over who is responsible for the blasts.

Several European countries have since taken steps to increase security around critical infrastructure. 

The G7 interior ministers warned earlier this month at a meeting in Germany that the Nord Stream explosions had highlighted “the need to better protect our critical infrastructure”.

Norway has become Europe’s main gas supplier in the wake of the war in Ukraine, taking the place of Russia.

The Scandinavian country has a vast network of pipelines, stretching for almost 9,000 kilometres, linking it to the continent, which experts have said are at risk of sabotage.

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