European officials consider sabotage one of the most likely causes of damage to the gas pipelines of the Nord Stream system. A day earlier, three gas leaks were discovered on the Nord Stream and Nord Stream 2 gas pipelines. Despite the fact that neither Nord Stream nor Nord Stream 2 supply gas to Europe, November gas futures have already jumped 9% to $2.4 thousand per 1 thousand cubic meters. Now there are no safety capacities for deliveries to Europe, there are only options for increasing the pumping through Ukraine or launching the stopped Polish transit.
Officials in Germany, Denmark and Poland suspect that sabotage was the cause of the sharp drop in pressure in the first line of Nord Stream 2 and both lines of Nord Stream. The day before, the Danish Energy Agency recorded gas leaks from Nord Stream and Nord Stream 2 in its economic zone in the Baltic Sea near the island of Bornholm, as well as in the economic zone of Sweden.
Nord Stream served as the main route for transporting Russian gas to Europe until its complete shutdown in early September. Nord Stream 2 was completed, but never put into operation due to US sanctions and the suspension of certification by Germany. Both pipelines were filled with technical gas in order to be ready to start gas supplies at any moment. Leaks from highways happened on the eve of the launch of the new gas pipeline Baltic pipe, laid from Norway to Poland through Denmark.
According to the agency Bloomberg citing a source in the German security service, the evidence points to a violent act, not a technical problem, however, the issue is still under investigation.
Swedish TV channel SVT referring to the seismological center, he announced two powerful explosions in areas of gas leaks. According to media reports, the diameter of the circle on the surface of the water, which rises from the gas pipeline, is several hundred meters.
In response to a gas leak in the Baltic Sea, Denmark has tightened security measures around energy facilities. The day before, the Norwegian Petroleum Safety Authority (Oslo is now Europe's largest pipeline gas supplier) reported that it had detected unidentified drones near offshore oil and gas facilities, pointing to a potentially increased risk of explosions, helicopter collisions or "deliberate attacks".
“It is hard to imagine that this is an accident. We cannot rule out sabotage, but it is too early to draw conclusions,” Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said on September 27. According to the Danish regulator, gas escaping from damaged pipes creates bubbles on the surface with a diameter of about 100 m.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki also called the disruption of gas pipelines sabotage. “We don’t yet know the details of what happened, but we clearly see that this is an act of sabotage,” he said, stressing that what happened “probably means another escalation of the situation taking place in Ukraine.”
Thus, with the decommissioning of Nord Stream and Nord Stream 2 for the current winter, Europe was cut off from safety gas supplies from Russia.
At the moment, Ukrainian transit remains the only route for gas supplies to Europe: a little more than 40 million cubic meters of gas per day enters Europe through the Sudzha entry point every day. The Yamal-Europe transit route through Poland is also intact, but Gazprom refused it.
Press Secretary of the President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Peskov said that in the case of the causes of the damage to the Nord Stream, “no option can be ruled out,” but no conclusions can be drawn until the results of the study appear.
“The destruction that occurred on the same day simultaneously on three strings of the offshore gas pipelines of the Nord Stream system is unprecedented,” Nord Stream AG, the operator of Nord Stream, said, adding that it is not yet possible to estimate the timing of the restoration of the gas transmission infrastructure.
An investigation by German, Danish and Swedish authorities is hampered because the facilities are underwater in the Baltic Sea, a spokesman for the German security service told Bloomberg. To carry out the work, he said, a submarine may be needed.
Gas prices in Europe responded by rising despite the fact that there were no actual deliveries via both pipelines. November futures for gas in the Dutch TTF hub by 15:40 Moscow time increased by 9%, to €189.45 per 1 MWh ($2.4 thousand per 1 thousand cubic meters), the price with “tomorrow” settlements increased by 9 .47%, up to €185 per 1 MWh ($2.35 per 1,000 cubic meters).