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EU vows to protect energy network after 'sabotage' of Russian gas pipeline

Stock Markets Sep 28, 2022 11:21PM ET
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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The logo of Nord Stream is seen at the headquarters of Nord Stream AG in Zug, Switzerland March 1, 2022. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann
 
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By Paul Carrel and Stine Jacobsen

BERLIN/COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - The European Union on Wednesday promised a "robust" response to any intentional disruption of its energy infrastructure after saying it suspected sabotage was behind gas leaks discovered this week on subsea Russian pipelines to Europe.

As gas spewed out under the Baltic Sea for a 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," the EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said.

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.

"The jury is still out," the official told repoters. "Many of our partners, I think, have determined or believe it is sabotage. I'm just -- I'm not at the point where I can tell you one way or the other." Asked whether any U.S. involvement in the ruptures could be ruled out, the U.S. military official said: "We were absolutely not involved."

The U.N. Security Council will convene on Friday at the request of Russia to discuss damage to the pipelines, the French U.N. mission, which holds the presidency of the 15-member council for September, said.

Russia's embassy in Washington said Moscow had asked for the meeting as it "insists on the need for a comprehensive and objective examination of the circumstances of the unprecedented attacks on Russian pipelines".

The embassy, in an early Thursday statement on its Telegram channel, also accused the United States of attempts to "squeeze out" Russia from the energy market through "non-market methods and sanctions."

The Nord Stream pipelines have been flashpoints in an escalating energy war between capitals in Europe and Moscow that has damaged major Western economies and sent gas prices soaring.

SECURITY ALERT

Denmark's defence minister said after a meeting with NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg there was reason to be concerned about the security situation in the region.

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

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.

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.

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.

GRAPHIC: Map: Leaks reported from Russian Nord Stream pipelines (https://graphics.reuters.com/UKRAINE-CRISIS/ENERGY/xmpjozoewvr/leakage-map.jpg)

GAS FLOWS

Operator Nord Stream has called the damage "unprecedented", while Russian-controlled Gazprom (MCX:GAZP), which has a monopoly on gas exports by pipeline, declined to comment.

While neither pipeline was delivering gas to Europe at the time, the incidents scupper any remaining expectations that Europe could receive fuel via Nord Stream 1 before winter.

"A development that could have a more immediate impact on gas supplies to Europe was a warning from Gazprom that Russia could impose sanctions on Ukraine's Naftogaz due to ongoing arbitration," analysts at ING Research said.

Naftogaz's CEO said on Wednesday the Ukrainian energy firm will continue with arbitration proceedings against Gazprom over Russian natural gas which transits the country.

Gazprom said earlier in the week that while rejecting all Naftogaz's claims in arbitration, it may introduce sanctions against the company in case it presses ahead with the case.

European gas prices rose following news of the leaks. The benchmark October Dutch price was up by 11% at 204.50 euros/megawatt hour on Wednesday. Although prices are still below this year's peaks, they remain more than 200% higher than in early September 2021.

Russia reduced gas supplies to Europe via Nord Stream 1 before suspending flows altogether in August, blaming Western sanctions for causing technical difficulties. European politicians say that was a pretext to stop supplying gas.

The new Nord Stream 2 pipeline had yet to enter commercial operations. The plan to use it to supply gas was scrapped by Germany days before Russia began what it calls a "special military operation" in Ukraine in late February.

EU vows to protect energy network after 'sabotage' of Russian gas pipeline
 

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Comments (17)
Chad Richer Than You
Chad Richer Than You Sep 29, 2022 8:36AM ET
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Very well played by NATO, self-sabotage a gas pipeline of no use, accuse Russia of it, and justify the shelling & ********of pro-Russians in Ukraine & soon in Russia itself. One thing to admire indeed!
gab nea
gab nea Sep 29, 2022 6:17AM ET
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all these Republicans that defend putin and trump, are they that naive and gullible? can I sell you a bridge if I repeat the pitch and over?
Benjamin USA
Benjamin USA Sep 28, 2022 12:35PM ET
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Russia is lead by foolish and untrustworthy mobsters.
Kris GE
Kris GE Sep 28, 2022 12:35PM ET
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Benjamin USA, You have to take your blindfolds, first to see who is really a mobster here. Then you have to think again, if the mobster in the WH/Pentagon is any different than the mobster in Kremlin. They are all mobsters. The whole world knows them very well. If they do not like some country leaders they try to run covered ops for regime change.  They clearly say that in the open. Believe them. This is the worst kept secret.
Benjamin USA
Benjamin USA Sep 28, 2022 12:35PM ET
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Kris GE go join the front in Russia then if you support genocidal child and elder ra.pi.sts. You sicken me
gab nea
gab nea Sep 28, 2022 12:35PM ET
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you are so right! mobsters like putin and trump should never lead humans! they do not show compassion, in fact they display hate and violence! who votes for these people? the crazies?
Kris GE
Kris GE Sep 28, 2022 12:35PM ET
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Benjamin USA , Ya you are one sick puppy, Arguments on facts are not your forte. You've been brainwashed with the MSM propaganda, where they tell you what to think. Because of that your brain is a mush with the IQ <40.
Benjamin USA
Benjamin USA Sep 28, 2022 12:09PM ET
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Russia is lead by foolish and untrustworthy mobsters.
First Last
First Last Sep 28, 2022 12:09PM ET
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Putin is like a leader of a death cult.  Probably because he's old and knows he's not long for this world, so why not bring everyone w/ him to the other side like the pharaohs did?
John Eisenbeiser
John Eisenbeiser Sep 28, 2022 12:09PM ET
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Kind of like the United States
First Last
First Last Sep 28, 2022 12:09PM ET
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John Eisenbeiser   A country, like a corporation, unlike a human, has no limit on lifespan.
Benjamin USA
Benjamin USA Sep 28, 2022 12:09PM ET
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John Eisenbeiser not at all. Go to Russia and join the front if you want to discover the differences for yourself.
Ravi Kiran
Ravi Kiran Sep 28, 2022 12:09PM ET
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The countries destroyed list is big.. Afghanistan, Iraq Syria Libya etc..
lakes Tenn
lakes Tenn Sep 28, 2022 11:30AM ET
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all of the 🐑 have converged on this story.
Benjamin USA
Benjamin USA Sep 28, 2022 11:30AM ET
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Agreed. Many conspiracy nuts always fabricate convoluted explanations for someteing simple: the only person crazy rnough to do this is Putin and he did it to send messages to both sides. Very simple and unsurprising.
Ken Roth
Ken Roth Sep 28, 2022 10:09AM ET
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Saw Tucker Carlson on fox news crazy conspiracy theory that somehow US is behind sabotage of nordstream 2...This guy is clearly on Putins payroll. 1st of all Nordstream 2 was aleady closed by Germany approval which was all Biden promised the rest is QUANON theries by russia lover Tucker carlson. How can true americans watch this traitor
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First Last
First Last Sep 28, 2022 10:09AM ET
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Mike Nawrocki   Ken didn't claim nor suggest Putin "sabotage his own pipeline".  Ken was saying the US "doesn't need to sabotage" Nord 2 because it "was already closed by Germany".
Benjamin USA
Benjamin USA Sep 28, 2022 10:09AM ET
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Mike Nawrocki propoganda slopper lmao
First Last
First Last Sep 28, 2022 10:09AM ET
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Benjamin USA   It'll be nice if propagandists are capable of reading comprehension.
Kris GE
Kris GE Sep 28, 2022 10:09AM ET
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First Last , If this was the case Biden would never be a president of the U.S. Think about that, if you still can. Your logic is as good as his.
Kris GE
Kris GE Sep 28, 2022 10:09AM ET
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Ken Roth, Your words "How can true americans watch this traitor". True Americans who use their brain on a daily basis, they do not need Tucker Carlson, nor Joe Biden to tell them what to think. When Biden or Nuland said that Nord Strem 2 will never be allowed to transport gas "no matter what" you should believe them. This is the FACT. Can you argue with facts? Then who is spreading this misinformation? Can he be called a traitor? Well, I know for some people they will say that 2+2=5, because they relinquished their use of brain and woke ideology is driving their daily lives. But real Americans they can see the truth, when they abolish their favorite CNN, or MSNBC, or CBS indoctrination camp. One thing about Tucker Carlson. He is a true patriot, true American, using his brain in support of his arguments, and commenting on FACTS that are in the open. Again, how can you argue with facts?
mike swedan
mike swedan Sep 28, 2022 9:37AM ET
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Is oil and gas also Chinese are making a ********selling gas to the stupid European
First Last
First Last Sep 28, 2022 9:37AM ET
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That's a motive for the CCP to sabotage nord 2.
mike swedan
mike swedan Sep 28, 2022 9:37AM ET
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Is oil and gas also Chinese are making a ********selling gas to the stupid European
Kerry Ditto
Kerry Ditto Sep 28, 2022 8:27AM ET
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a massive stock market rally is a reasonable possibility
Kerry Ditto
Kerry Ditto Sep 28, 2022 8:18AM ET
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global tariff cut is what the world needs now. US cutting tariffs on China should be the first step. no more talking, just do it is the American way. otherwise, dems will lose in coming midterm election.
First Last
First Last Sep 28, 2022 8:18AM ET
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The CCP has up more barriers to trade (tariff is 1 form) from the US than the US has from China.
lakes Tenn
lakes Tenn Sep 28, 2022 8:18AM ET
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sounds like you are for supporting communist businesses over American companies. there is a reason tariffs are in place
 
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