EU Plans To Secure Energy Infrasture Following Nord Stream 1 Disaster

  • Ukrainian presidential adviser Mikhaylo Podolyak said the reported gas leaks were likely the result of a “terrorist attack” carried out by Moscow
  • Putin blames West for wrecking Nord Stream
  • Swedish police has launched a ninvestigation into possible sabotage related to leaks in the Nord Stream gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea after seismologists from Sweden and Denmark said they had recorded powerful explosions in areas near where evidence of leaks had been found.

By Special Correspondent

Berlin: A wave of disturbance and uneasiness has been felt across Germany, Europe’s powerhouse, following the suspension of the supply of Gas which Russia says was caused by an accident in the Baltic sea.

The parliamentarians and analysts point finger at Kremlin arguing it was allegedly done by the Russian side. The majority in Europe, especially Germany and France believe, Russia must have planned the disaster which is often tipped off the lifeline of the European Union.

Critics say Germany’s current dependence on Russian gas imports is the result of misjudgments, mistaken assumptions, and a denial of geopolitical realities in its Russia policy. Experts accuse Berlin of underestimating the supply security risks since 2005 when it agreed with Moscow to build the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline.

It is widely believed that climate and environmental policy, as well as supposedly “cheap” Russian gas, have shaped Germany’s Energiewende at the expense of supply security and a realistic energy transition.

Photo Credit: Reuters

It is ironic that Moscow’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 didn’t raise eyebrows from Berlin. Rather, Germany’s gas import dependence on Russia – contrary to the EU’s 2010 and 2014 gas security strategy of greater diversification – rose from 45 to 55 percent. Things have begun to change finally as the new coalition government in Berlin has begun to rebalance its approach to gas and overall Energiewende to become more sustainable and resilient in a new geopolitical environment without Russian gas. This is something the Kremlin should start worrying about.

Earlier this week on Wednesday, the European Union announced it was planning to initiate a “robust” response to any intentional disruption of its energy infrastructure. The announcement came days after reports suggesting that suspected sabotage was behind gas leaks discovered this week on subsea Russian pipelines to Europe.

As gas spewed out under the Baltic Sea for the third day after first being detected, it remained far from clear who might be responsible for any sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines that Russia and European partners spent billions of dollars building.

Russia, which slashed gas deliveries to Europe after the West imposed sanctions over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, has also said sabotage was a possibility.

“Any deliberate disruption of European energy infrastructure is utterly unacceptable and will be met with a robust and united response,” Reuters quoted the EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell as saying.

Photo Credit: Reuters

Echoing the views of Germany, Denmark and Sweden, he said sabotage was likely, although the EU has not named a potential perpetrator or suggested a motive. Washington, which has led efforts to punish Moscow over the war, believes its too soon to conclude there was sabotage, a senior U.S. military official said told Reuters.

Earlier on Tuesday, Swedish authorities confirmed they have launched a preliminary investigation into possible sabotage related to leaks in the Nord Stream gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea after seismologists from Sweden and Denmark said they had recorded powerful explosions in areas near where evidence of leaks had been found.

A national police spokesperson said on September 27 that Swedish police had “established a report and the crime classification is gross sabotage.”

The leaks have raised concerns about possible sabotage amid fears of a growing energy crisis as Western nations turn away from Russia as a supplier in response to Moscow’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

Ukrainian presidential adviser Mikhaylo Podolyak said the reported gas leaks were likely the result of a “terrorist attack” carried out by Moscow.

“The large-scale ‘gas leak’ from Nord Stream 1 is nothing more than a terrorist attack planned by Russia and an act of aggression towards the EU,” Podolyak said on Twitter.

Podolak accused Russia of seeking to “destabilize the economic situation in Europe and cause pre-winter panic.”

The Nord Stream disaster has panicked Europe. Media reports quoted Denmark’s defense as saying after a meeting with NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg, that there was reason to be concerned about the security situation in the region.

Photo Credit: Reuters

“Russia has a significant military presence in the Baltic Sea region and we expect them to continue their saber-rattling,” Morten Bodskov said in a statement.

Meanwhile Norway’s prime minister said on Wednesday that its military will be deployed near oil and gas installations, while Denmark is raising its level of preparedness.

“The military will be more visible at Norwegian oil and gas installations,” Norway’s Jonas Gahr Stoere told a news briefing.

In the Baltic Sea, gas was still bubbling from the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, the Swedish Coast Guard said in an email.

The Danish Energy Agency said more than half the gas in the damaged pipelines had left the pipes and the remaining volume was expected to be gone by Sunday.

Germany, September 19, 2022. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch/File Photo

Jens Schumann, managing director of gas pipeline grid company Gasunie Deutschland, said he was “relatively optimistic” that the damage could be repaired.

“There are good teams in place to handle pipeline accidents, there are emergency pipe inventories and experts for onshore and offshore,” Schuman said.

But German security agencies fear that Nord Stream 1 will become unusable if large volumes of salt water flow into the pipes and cause corrosion, German newspaper Tagesspiegel reported, citing government sources.

Official portrait of NATO Heads of State and Government

The Danish armed forces said the largest gas leak caused a surface disturbance of more than 1 kilometre (0.6 mile) in diameter, as agencies issued warnings to shipping.

Sweden’s Prosecution Authority said it will review material from a police investigation and decide on further action, after Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said on Tuesday that two blasts had been detected.

Although this did not represent an attack on Sweden, Stockholm was in close contact with partners such as NATO and neighbours such as Denmark and Germany, Andersson said.

Seismologists in Denmark and Sweden said they had registered two powerful blasts on Monday in the vicinity of the leaks and the explosions were in the water, not under the seabed.

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin offered Washington’s support in a call with his Danish counterpart on Wednesday, a senior U.S. defense official said. The State Department said it was sharing information on the blasts with its allies.

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