What is happening to the Nord Stream?

Energy - October 18, 2022

Lines 1 and 2 of the Nord Stream, the gas pipeline that transports gas from Russia directly to Western Europe, suffered “unprecedented” damage. There are continuous explosions and gas leaks in the stretch of the Baltic Sea between Denmark and Sweden. Both Danish and Swedish seismologists had recorded strong explosions near the Danish island of Bornholm on the night between Sunday and Monday. “A huge emission of energy that we interpret as most likely coming from some form of detonation,” explained Peter Schmidt of the Swedish National Seismic Network.

Environmental damage

The Danish government has already warned that the gas spill will last at least a week. Fortunately, the environmental damage, even if present, is limited. The gas dispersed in the sea, in fact, largely evaporates in the atmosphere and does not create oily tides, as happens for example with oil leaks. It does not evaporate completely, however, because being the Nord Stream at a high depth, part of the methane binds to the water and creates clathrates. A kind of methane ice.

There will be a reduction of oxygen in the water column. This will lead to the death of the fauna present. A few square kilometers of sea, due to explosions and fire, will be polluted. The Danish navy has been monitoring the area for days and has imposed a ban on navigation.

Discharge of responsibility

In the meantime, there is a back and forth between the Kremlin and Ukraine with NATO and Europe watching the situation with concern. The first not to rule out that it may have been a sabotage are the Russians. Through spokesman Dmitry Peskov they asked for an urgent investigation to be launched because these explosions represent “a problem that affects the energy security of the entire continent”.

Kiev’s response was immediate. Mykhailo Podolyak, the adviser to President Volodymyr Zelensky, accused Moscow saying: “This is a terrorist attack planned by Russia and an act of aggression against the EU”. According to Podolyak, an attack of this kind made with this timing has the aim of destabilizing the economic situation in Europe and causing pre-winter panic “. Meanwhile, the United States of America has said it is ready to help Europeans on the investigation. “Initial information indicates that the explosions were caused by an attack,” said Secretary of State Antony Blinken. He then underlined the European need to become energetically independent from the White Bear. However, the gas leaks will not have a significant impact from an energy point of view. The explosions, however, had repercussions on the price of gas. In Amsterdam, in fact, the price has reached up to 207 euros per megawatt hour (+ 19%).

The position of the European Union

The European Union, on the other hand, has no doubts about what happened. The head of EU foreign policy, Josep Borrell, explained in a statement that these are sabotage actions and that the European Union is deeply concerned about the damage to the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines, and the losses caused in the waters Baltic Sea Internationals. Safety and the environment, at this moment, are the priorities to be safeguarded. “All available information indicates that these leaks are the result of a deliberate act.” For this reason, continues Borrell: “We will support any investigation aimed at obtaining full clarity on what happened and why, and we will take further measures to increase our resilience in energy security”. In addition, the European Union declares itself ready to respond in a “strong and compact” manner if there is a deliberate interruption of European energy infrastructures. Even the European Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders, at the end of the meeting of the college of commissioners said: “We are doing everything to identify the origin o