Nord Stream ruptures revealed as Europe grapples with gas plan

  • Nord Stream leak discovered in late September
  • Newspaper reports what it calls first images of damage
  • The EU proposes energy measures and avoids an immediate cap on the price of gas
  • EU seeks to launch new gas price reference, joint purchases

COPENHAGEN/BRUSSELS, Oct 18 (Reuters) – Damage to Russia’s Nord Stream gas pipeline to Europe was caused by powerful explosions, Danish police said on Tuesday, echoing earlier findings about leaks erupting in the network under the Baltic Sea and have been blamed for sabotage.

In what a Swedish newspaper described as the first public footage of damage to the system, film from a private drone appeared to show a huge rupture in a pipe. The express reported that a 50 meter section was missing in one area of ​​the pipeline.

Decreasing gas flows from Russia, which once supplied 40% of Europe’s needs, have left the European Union scrambling to come together on how to respond to rising prices that have deepened the cost-of-living crisis for families and companies.

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The European Commission on Tuesday proposed an emergency package of measures to tackle high energy prices, including for EU states to start buying gas together. But he avoided proposing an immediate price cap on gas amid divisions over the idea.

“We know we are strong when we act together,” said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

Meanwhile, European states have scrambled to protect other energy infrastructure, from Norwegian power facilities to German power lines after blaming the Nord Stream leaks on sabotage, but have not said who was behind the breakouts. discovered on September 26.

Danish gas and power grid operator Energinet said it had speeded up inspections of its own pipelines in the wake of damage to Nord Stream 1 and 2, but said it found nothing abnormal.

Russia, which built the pipelines with foreign partners, also says the damage was caused by sabotage, but pointed to the United States and its allies.

Swedish and Danish authorities have been investigating four holes in the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines. Denmark’s findings appear to be similar to those of Swedish prosecutors, who had previously said two holes appeared to have been caused by explosions.

Swedish newspaper Expressen reported that a section measuring at least 50 meters (164 feet) of the damaged Nord Stream 1 pipeline was missing. Reuters was unable to independently verify that the images published by the newspaper were of Nord Stream 1.

Copenhagen police said “powerful explosions” caused the leaks, saying this was based on preliminary investigations.

“It is still too early to say anything about the framework in which international cooperation with, for example, Sweden and Germany will develop, as it depends on various factors,” he said.

European leaders and Moscow say they cannot rule out sabotage. Map of Nord Stream pipelines and locations of reported leaks


The Commission’s proposals on Tuesday are its latest response to an energy crisis that has prompted some European governments to draw up emergency plans that could mean rationing and blackouts this winter.

The Commission requested the approval of the EU countries to draft a proposal to establish a temporary “maximum dynamic price” in the exchanges in the Dutch gas center Title Transfer Facility (TTF), which serves as a reference price for the trade of european gas.

The Commission described this as a “measure of last resort” and said the price cap should meet conditions, including that it would not lead to an increase in gas demand in Europe.

The EU has also tasked energy regulators to launch an alternative reference price for liquefied natural gas (LNG) before March 31.

A separate proposal would launch the joint purchase of gas between EU countries, to try to refill depleted storage caverns in time for next winter and negotiate lower prices.

The EU package is unlikely to placate the 27-nation EU, whose leaders will discuss the proposals at a summit on October 20-21. Most EU countries have urged the Commission to urgently propose a gas price cap, but disagree with its design.

EU economic powerhouse Germany and other wealthier states have opposed gas price caps, which they say could hamper gas purchases and discourage energy savings.

LNG imports by ship to Europe have surged as governments have scrambled to find alternative gas supplies around the world, trying to move away from Russian deliveries.

QatarEnergy, a major global supplier of LNG, said it was working to expand its gas production and trading as demand rises, but said it would not divert contracted LNG from Asian buyers to Europe this winter.

Supplies via Nord Stream 1 had already been stopped even before the leaks were found due to a dispute over Western sanctions imposed over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Nord Stream 2 had not started commercial deliveries.

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Reporting by Stine Jacobsen in Copenhagen, Kate Abnett and Gabriela Baczynska in Brussels and other Reuters correspondents; Written by Edmund Blair; Edited by Bernadette Baum and Emelia Sithole-Matarise

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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