Warsaw, Poland –
Denmark’s prime minister said on Tuesday she “cannot rule out” sabotage after three leaks were detected on Russian gas pipelines running under the Baltic Sea to Europe.
Mette Frederiksen spoke after simultaneous problems were reported with the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines. She spoke at the inauguration of a new pipeline with Norwegian gas intended to wean Poland and the Europe from Russian supplies.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s previous story follows below.
COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Authorities were trying to determine the cause of mysterious leaks and pressure drops on gas pipelines from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea on Tuesday, when a new gas pipeline intended to wean Poland and the ‘Russian gas Europe is to be inaugurated.
None of the pipelines, Nord Stream 1 and 2, brought gas from Russia amid an energy standoff with Europe caused by the invasion of Ukraine. However, both were filled with natural gas, which is used to heat homes, generate electricity and run factories.
Officials said the leaks posed no threat to energy supplies given that Russia does not supply gas through them, and experts said the environmental impact would be limited.
Danish authorities announced on Monday that a leak had been detected in the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which was never used. They were then informed of a major pressure drop on Nord Stream 1, which was until recently a key source of gas for Germany.
The Swedish Maritime Administration announced on Tuesday that two leaks had been discovered in the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, which partly passes through Swedish waters. Danish authorities have also confirmed the leaks.
The Danish Maritime Authority has issued a shipping warning and established a no-go area in a bid to ensure ships do not sail close to the leaks. Ships can lose buoyancy if they navigate the area, and there may also be a risk of ignition above water and in the air, Danish authorities said. Swedish authorities have sent similar warnings.
The pipeline leaks were detected northeast and southeast of the Danish island of Bornholm.
“The authorities and the government are monitoring the situation closely,” Danish Energy Minister Dan J├╕rgensen said, according to Danish media.
Germany’s economy ministry said it was investigating the cause of the pressure drop in Nord Stream 1, and that “we currently do not know the reason for the pressure drop.”
Pipelines have been at the center of an energy war between Europe and Russia since the invasion of Ukraine in late February. A drop in Russian gas supplies has pushed up energy prices, causing pain for many people across Europe and creating fears about the coming winter and pressuring governments to help ease the pain of exorbitant bills for their citizens.
Across Europe, countries are struggling to find alternative sources of gas, starting from different positions. Poland, for example, was already on the right track when the war began to free itself from Russian gas after working for years to find other sources, including imports of liquefied natural gas, or LNG, from the United States and the Middle East. Germany, on the other hand, is now struggling to build LNG terminals quickly.
An important project in the energy security bid is the Baltic Pipe, a gas pipeline carrying Norwegian gas through Denmark and along the Baltic Sea to Poland. It is due to be inaugurated in northern Poland on Tuesday by Polish, Danish and Norwegian officials.
Of the two pipelines affected by leaks, Nord Stream 2 never ran, while Nord Stream 1 transported gas to Germany until this month, when Russian energy giant Gazprom shut down the pipeline. supply, saying there was an urgent need for maintenance work.
Gazprom’s explanation of the technical issues was dismissed by German officials as a cover for a political power play aimed at raising prices and spreading uncertainty.
Nord Stream 2 was already complete when German Chancellor Olaf Scholz suspended its certification on the eve of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Germany has been heavily dependent on natural gas supplies from Russia, but Berlin has tried to seek other energy sources.
Despite fears of a winter shortage, gas storage has increased in recent weeks in Germany and other parts of Europe.
“We see no impact on security of supply,” the German economy ministry said, referring to the pressure drop in Nord Stream 1. “Since the Russian supply shutdown in early September, no gas has passed through Nord Stream 1. Storage levels continue to rise steadily and are currently at around 91%.
Associated Press writers Kirsten Grieshaber in Berlin and Monika Scislowska and Vanessa Gera in Warsaw contributed.
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