Undersea Pipelines: Leaks Multiply and Accusations Fly

By Dr. Ann Griffiths, 30 September 2022

Sweden confirmed on 29 September that there are two more leaks in the gas pipelines from Russia to Europe – two off Sweden and two off Denmark. Nord Stream 1 has two leaks and so does Nord Stream 2. Despite the fact that neither pipeline is currently transporting gas, both were filled with gas, which has bubbled to the surface. Methane gas is now spreading on the surface of the Baltic Sea which is a threat to passing ships and to the environment. It’s not yet clear what happened but Western countries say it was a deliberate act of sabotage and have blamed Russia, saying that such an attack would be possible only by a state actor. NATO said that it would retaliate for any attacks on the critical infrastructure in any of its members. If indeed Russia is responsible, it’s a puzzling strategy. With the pipelines out of service, Russia’s gas blackmail is no longer effective. Yes, Germany gets no Russian gas, but Russia gets no German money and Vladimir Putin loses the pleasure of squeezing Germany until it squeaks. Plus, this is an additional push for Europe to find other sources – and quickly – so the long-term implications for Russia would be negative. But who else would sabotage the pipelines? Would Ukraine do it so that Russian gas has to travel through Ukraine? It seems unlikely but who knows! This incident makes me think about the other critical infrastructure that’s underwater – i.e., fibre-optic cables. Cross our fingers that no one is planning on sabotaging them. See “Sweden confirms new leak in underwater Nord Stream gas pipelines,” https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/nord-stream-pipeline-baltic-sea-1.6600084


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