A new leak has been discovered on the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea, bringing the total number of ruptures to four, according to the command center of the Swedish Coast Guard.
Gas has been flowing from the pipelines since the beginning of this week, and Denmark estimates that the pipelines will be empty by Sunday. Several governments have called the actions “deliberate” and “sabotage,” with Finland saying on Wednesday that only a state actor could be capable of actions on such a scale.
The incident has prompted increased security of energy infrastructure across Europe, with some, such as Poland, pointing the finger at Russia, which is waging a war in Ukraine and has curbed the flow of gas to Europe. Norway is now Europe’s biggest gas exporter, and its biggest energy companies said on Wednesday they were beefing up security around their offshore assets.
Nord Stream pipelines cross the Baltic Sea to Germany from Russia, running along the seabed in international waters. Two of the leaks are in Sweden’s exclusive economic zone and two are in Denmark’s exclusive economic zone, Swedish TV channel TT reports. According to the coast guard, the two bubbles above the spill sites in Sweden’s economic zone have diameters of 900 meters (2,950 feet) and about 180 meters, respectively.
The pipelines have already failed, but all hope that the Kremlin will ever turn the taps back on has been dashed. Police in Denmark and Sweden are investigating the events.
Russia has been reducing energy supplies to Europe for months, engaging in a cat-and-mouse game, trying to exert maximum pressure on Ukraine’s allies. Europe responded by stockpiling gas and scrambling to find alternative supplies.
At the moment, it looks like that effort will be enough to see Europe through this winter, although questions remain about next one. Before the war, the block received about 40% of its pipeline gas from Russia, now this figure is about 9%.
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