Last gas leak from Nord Stream 'likely halted'

Germany indicated on Friday the explosions were probably perpetrated by Moscow

One of four gas leaks at one of the damaged Nord Stream gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea. AFP
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The last gas leak from the damaged Nord Stream pipelines has probably halted after stable pressure was achieved, Denmark's Energy Agency said.

Four leaks were discovered on the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines in the Baltic Sea near Denmark and Sweden last week.

Experts said all available information suggested a “deliberate act” caused the leaks in the Russian-owned pipelines.

While neither pipeline was in use at the time of the suspected blasts, they were filled with gas that has been spewing out and bubbling to the surface of the Baltic Sea since Monday.

Denmark's Energy Agency said on Sunday it had been informed by Nord Stream AG that stable pressure had been achieved in the damaged Nord Stream 1 pipeline, indicating the outflow of natural gas from the last leaks had ended.

On Saturday, it was announced that gas was no longer flowing out of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

The blasts, which Germany indicated on Friday was probably perpetrated by Moscow, have raised the stakes in Europe’s energy conflict with Russia.

Norway’s armed forces have stepped up patrols of the country’s energy facilities, and the EU plans to test the security of its energy sites in the wake of the Nord Stream pipeline explosions.

Norwegian forces are bolstering their presence on land, at sea, in the air, sub-surface and in cyberspace, a spokesperson said. An abnormally high number of drone sightings have been reported since on the Norwegian continental shelf in the North Sea.

Norway's Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store has accepted offers of assistance from Germany, France and the UK, as it increases its presence around oil and gas installations in the North Sea.

Nato is also using its naval and air capabilities to monitor the Baltic and North Seas.

“This sends a message of allies’ and Nato readiness to protect and defend each other, also critical infrastructure,” Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg told reporters.

“These allies, these capabilities, these planes, these ships are also collecting information — data which can be helpful both for the ongoing investigation but also to monitor these critical energy infrastructures.”

The European Union is planning a stress-test operation of the physical security for energy infrastructure.

But non-member Norway is seen as the most vulnerable potential target.

Failure to safeguard Norway’s energy links to the European continent would have “colossal” consequences, according to economist Maeva Cousin at Bloomberg Economics.

It would trigger energy rationing and “brutally” escalate geopolitical risks, prompting in the first instance a contraction of more than 4 per cent in euro-area output, even with a rapid and controlled response, she said.

Updated: October 02, 2022, 12:44 PM
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