HomeWorldNord Stream ruptures revealed as Europe grapples with gas plan

Nord Stream ruptures revealed as Europe grapples with gas plan

  • Nord Stream leaks discovered at the end of September
  • Newspaper reports what it first calls images of damage
  • EU proposes energy measures, avoids immediate gas price cap
  • EU wants to launch new gas price benchmark, joint purchases

COPENHAGEN/BRUSSELS, Oct. 18 (Reuters) – Damage to the Nord Stream gas pipeline from Russia to Europe was caused by powerful explosions, Danish police said on Tuesday, following previous findings of leaks erupting in the network under the Baltic Sea and those accused of sabotage.

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

With dwindling gas flows from Russia, which once supplied 40% of Europe’s needs, the European Union is struggling to respond unitedly to rising prices that have exacerbated a crisis in the cost of living for families and businesses.

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On Tuesday, the European Commission proposed a package of emergency measures to tackle high energy prices, including for EU countries to jointly purchase gas. But it avoided proposing an immediate gas price cap amid splits over the idea.

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

European states, meanwhile, have raced to protect other energy infrastructure, from Norwegian power plants to German power lines after blaming the Nord Stream leaks as sabotage, but they haven’t said who was behind the breaches that were patched on Sept. discovers.

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Danish electricity and gas network operator Energinet said it had accelerated inspections of its own pipelines following the 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 has pointed to the United States and its allies.

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

The Swedish daily Expressen reported that a section of at least 50 meters (164 feet) was missing from the ruptured Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline. 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, and said this was based on preliminary investigations.

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

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

‘LAST RESORT’

Tuesday’s Commission proposals are the latest response to an energy crisis that has prompted some European governments to prepare contingency plans that could lead to rationing and blackouts this winter.

The Commission has asked EU countries to approve a proposal to set a temporary “maximum dynamic price” for transactions on the Dutch gas hub Title Transfer Facility (TTF), which serves as a reference price for European gas trading .

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The Commission described this as a “last resort” and said the price cap would have to meet conditions, including that it would not increase European demand for gas.

The EU has also instructed energy regulators to launch an alternative benchmark price for liquefied natural gas (LNG) by March 31.

A separate proposal would launch joint gas purchases between EU countries, to try to fill the empty storage caverns in time for next winter, and negotiate lower prices.

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

Germany, the economic powerhouse of the EU and other wealthier states are against gas price caps, which they say could hinder gas purchases and discourage energy savings.

Imports of LNG by ship to Europe have soared as governments have rushed to find alternative gas supplies around the world in an effort to get rid of Russian supplies.

QatarEnergy, a major global LNG supplier, said it was expanding its gas production and trading as demand soars, but said it would not divert LNG contracts with Asian buyers to Europe this winter.

Supplies through Nord Stream 1 had already been cut off before the leaks were found due to a dispute over Western sanctions imposed over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Nord Stream 2 had not yet 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; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Emelia Sithole-Matarise

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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