Can Europe be Left Without gas?

Can Europe be Left Without gas?


The Nord Stream 2 AG that maintains the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline has recently reported about a sharp pressure drop from 300 to 7 bar on Line A. The incident took place in Danish territorial waters near the island of Bornholm.

Later, the pressure dropped on two strings of the Nord Stream pipeline at once. In addition, the Swedish Maritime Administration recorded gas leaks in the waters of this country as well as in Denmark.

The damage to the three offshore pipelines is unprecedented and, according to experts, it is not yet possible to predict when the infrastructure will be restored. Rumor has it the restoration may take several years, in particular, large sections of the pipelines filled with sea water may have to be replaced.

However, it is unlikely that anyone plans to repair the Nord Stream and Nord Stream 2, especially since the Nord Stream actually stopped several months ago due to problems with the gas compressor turbines of the German company Siemens, which cannot repair them because of anti-Russian sanctions, and Europe simply refused to use the Nord Stream 2 for political reasons.

According to the European owners of the pipeline, they still “do not know the reasons for the drop in pressure in the lines,” and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that at the moment, the gas leak from the failed joint ventures does not threaten the gas supply and an investigation into this unprecedented emergency has already begun.

At the same time, there are few doubts that it was sabotage, and so far, it is anybody's guess who organized. However, the complexity of several underwater explosions recorded by the seismological services of Sweden may indicate the involvement of some interested governments.

“We could talk, for example, about some technical defect at the stage of welding joints, or even about mechanical damage of the pipeline by the anchor of a passing ship or something similar,” Igor Yushkov, an expert at the Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation and the National Energy Security Fund, told “However, it is one thing if only one string of one pipeline is damaged but when three strings fail at once, it's hard to call it an accident.”

According to competent sources, it is very likely that submarine saboteurs acted from the Danish island of Bornholm. Recall that during the construction of Nord Stream 2, vessels involved in pipe-laying were subjected to regular and well-planned provocations that involved submarines, aircraft, and military and fishing vessels.

It is noteworthy that almost immediately after the explosions on the Nord Stream pipelines in Poland, the Baltik Pipe gas pipeline launch ceremony was held, where participants noted the key importance of this infrastructure and “strengthening of energy independence from Russia.” Thus, according to Polish President Andrzej Duda, from there, this gas can go anywhere wherever it is needed, and “the era of Russian domination in the field of gas is coming to an end.”

Pumping of gas through the new pipeline will start as early as October 1. This pipeline system, which is about 900 kilometers long and connects the fields on the Norwegian shelf of the North Sea via Denmark, will initially operate at 30 to 38 percent of its capacity. The throughput capacity of this gas pipeline from 2023 should reach 10 billion cubic meters of gas per year.

According to Nikolay Vavilov, a specialist of the strategic research department of Total Researh, the purpose of this diversion may not have been to reduce Russia's income, but to increase the income of another country. In his opinion, the main economic beneficiary of the reduction of Russian gas exports is the United States, which has long been trying to oust Russian gas from the continent and “impose its own,” liquefied gas. Vavilov believes that high prices enrich U.S. gas producers and exporters. “We should not exclude another beneficiary, Ukraine. Pipes through its territory remain the only route for gas from Russia to Europe now,” Vavilov said in conclusion.

It should be recalled that the German media reported back in early August about the activity of a detachment of US Navy ships in the area where the previous day's pipeline sabotage had taken place. Incidentally, while there, the Americans were disabling the automatic identification systems of the ships. Yesterday they reported that they had completed their tasks in the Baltic Sea and had left the area.

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