HomeEuropeGas leak detected near Nord Stream 2

Gas leak detected near Nord Stream 2

A natural gas leak has been detected in Danish waters near the Russia-to-Germany Nord Stream 2 pipeline, Danish authorities said Monday

A no-go zone of 5 nautical miles has been established around the Danish island of Bornholm — the gas leak has been pinpointed to an area off the southeast coast of the island, near where the pipeline is laid. Baltic maritime agencies are currently coordinating, with the undersea leak being pegged to a likely depth of 60 meters to 70 meters.

“The leakage is dangerous,” reads a mariners’ warning from the Danish Maritime Authority. “Navigation is prohibited.”

The leak is “in Danish waters near the border with Polish waters,” a representative of the Swedish Maritime Authority said via telephone.

Nord Stream 2, which is not in operation, was nonetheless filled with 117 million cubic meters of natural gas — worth €213 million at current prices — to bring pipeline pressure up to 300 bar in anticipation of being allowed to flow. Germany froze approval of the pipeline after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The double-string undersea gas link runs 1,200 kilometers through Russian, Finnish, Swedish, Danish and German territorial waters.

At the German landfall, pipeline pressure is now registering 7 bar, the German infrastructure regulator said.

“Today we were informed by the network operator Gascade that there has been a sharp drop in pressure in the Nord Stream 2 pipeline,” the infrastructure regulator said in an emailed statement. “We still have no clarity about the causes and the exact facts.”

Nord Stream 2 AG, the pipeline owner and operator, did not respond to requests for comment.

Given it took weeks for the pipeline to be filled with that amount of gas, the speed of the pressure drop — virtually overnight — pointed to the possibility of a major leak rather than any attempt on the Russian side to siphon back gas supplies, according to several officials not authorized to speak publicly.

Unlike oil spills, natural gas — also known as methane — bubbles up to the surface. However, there are climate consequences. It is highly flammable and has such a potent global warming effect that it has been likened to “CO2 on steroids.”

“As soon as the gaseous methane rises above the sea surface into the atmosphere, it contributes massively to the greenhouse effect,” said Sascha Müller-Kraenner, federal director of NGO Environmental Action Germany.

“The significant drop in pressure that has already occurred in the Nord Stream 2 pipeline gives reason to fear that this is a major accident and that significant quantities of the dangerous greenhouse gas methane have already leaked into the Baltic Sea,” said Müller-Kraenner, adding: “The approval of the pipeline must therefore be revoked immediately for safety and climate protection reasons.”

Germany’s infrastructure regulator said that federal as well as “responsible state ministries in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania” had been notified of the issue.



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