The plot thickens about what caused damage to three lines of the Nord Stream gas-pipeline system under the Baltic Sea to Europe. Some European officials suspect 'sabotage.'
Nord Stream AG, the operator of the NS pipeline system, published a statement Tuesday that read, "the destruction that happened within one day at three lines of the Nord Stream pipeline system is unprecedented ... and impossible now to estimate the timeframe for restoring operations of the gas shipment infrastructure."
On Monday, NS2 gas pipeline and two NS1 lines reported rapid pressure drops, with gas leaks reported by Swedish and Danish authorities in the Baltic Sea near the exclusive economic zone southeast of Bornholm island.
Pressure drops in the NS gas-pipeline system could be the biggest signal that flows via NS1 might not resume this winter. Germany and surrounding countries are investigating the incident. NS2 cannot impact flows to the EU because the controversial idled conduit was never operational after German Chancellor Olaf Scholz canceled it after Russia invaded Ukraine earlier this year.
Klaus Mueller, the president of the German energy network regulator, tweeted that the market situation remains "tense," but Germany and the EU are no longer dependent on NS supplies.
Nord Stream AG issued an outage message that is active until Oct. 26, while the German economy ministry said it's investigating the incident.
Dutch front-month gas, the European benchmark, was up nearly 10% at 190.50 euros per megawatt-hour on Tuesday morning.
The simultaneous pressure drop of the NS lines suggests some market participants may watch for any indication of sabotage.
Denmark's Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said it was hard to imagine NS gas leaks were caused by a "coincidence."
Frederiksen didn't rule out sabotage, though she said it was too early to draw any conclusions, according to Reuters, quoting public broadcaster DR during a visit to Poland.
A German security official told Bloomberg that NS damage appears to be the result of "sabotage."
The evidence points to a violent act, rather than a technical issue, according to a German security official, who asked not to be identified because the matter is being probed. -Bloomberg
German daily newspaper Tagesspiegel reported that "the Nord Stream pipelines may have been damaged by targeted attacks and leaked as a result."
A source close to the government, quoted in the newspaper, said, "everything speaks against a coincidence."
"We cannot imagine a scenario that is not a targeted attack," the source said.
Die Welt, another German newspaper, reported the timing of the NS damage may suggest sabotage and was unlikely to be an accident.
Reporters asked Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov if the NS system's pressure drop could be due to sabotage. He responded: "It is impossible to exclude any options."
There appears to be no immediate end to the gas leak from NS pipelines, according to the Danish national daily newspaper Berlingske, which quoted Danish Energy Authority.
The energy authority said, "a lot of gas is coming out, so it is not a small crack, it's a really big hole. Nord Stream leaks can be a deliberate act, but it can also be something else, it's just extremely rare that something like this happens."
Tue, 09/27/2022 - 07:46