The Russian-built Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines suffered several leaks this afternoon and are now releasing gas into the Baltic Sea. Denmark’s energy agency said it had identified two punctures in Nord Stream 1 and one in its modern counterpart. Both have obtained new significance in the months following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and triggered fears of deliberate sabotage.
Why are the Nord Stream pipelines leaking?
Nord Stream 1 and 2 are two sections of the same pipeline that deliver gas from Russia to its neighbours in Western Europe.
The Danish energy agency confirmed that the network had sustained three puncture holes this afternoon.
Björn Lund, a lecturer in seismology at the Swedish National Seismic Network (SNSN), confirmed explosions occurred.
But Mette Frederiksen, Denmark’s Prime Minister, refused to rule out sabotage as a potential motive.
Pipeline operators Nord Stream AG said they noticed pressure drop rapidly on the night of Monday, September 26.
Pressure plummeted from 105 to seven bar and the sudden nature of the punctures has led to further speculation.
Mykhailo Podolyak, an advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, claimed the leak was a “terrorist attack”.
On top of the exclusion zone, planes cannot travel over the island while flying under 1,000 metres.
Danish authorities said the “rare” pipeline breakage convinced them to raise the “preparedness level”.
While the punctures are releasing gas into the Baltic Sea, they are deemed largely harmless to those nearby.
Natural gas is primarily methane, a compound that partially dissolves in water and only poses a limited risk when inhaled.