What is the origin of the explosions that caused the gas leaks?
Not yet clear. Everything is in place to identify the origin of the explosion on the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipeline. We need to get to the bottom of this investigation before making a very clear statement on the origin and responsibilities, the European Commissioner said on Wednesday 28 September. to Justice, Didier Reynders. On Friday there will be the meeting of the EU Energy Council and the debate will obviously also be on this. The investigation is ongoing, he added. Experts agree that it is very rare for a pipeline to have a rupture or leak. it is easier to assume that it was sabotage. But not yet clear from whom.
What are the exchanges of accusations?
The gas leak from Nord Stream 1 is nothing more than a planned terrorist attack by Russia and an act of aggression against the EU, Mykhailo Podolyak, advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, wrote on Twitter on Monday 26 September. To suspect that Moscow’s hand is behind the attack on the gas pipelines, even if in a more veiled way, are also other European countries. Two European intelligence officials told CNN that on Monday and Tuesday support ships of the Russian Navy were near the leaks in the Nord Stream gas pipelines. The Kremlin, through Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitri Peskov, has denied the accusations saying that the accidents at the Nord Stream pipelines appear to be a terrorist act, probably by a foreign country. Regarding the presence of Russian troops in the incident area Peskov said: This is distorted news, many more NATO troops have been seen in the area. Moscow points the finger at the United States, arguing that American companies have benefited enormously from stopping supplies from Russia. Ridiculous to suggest that the United States could be responsible, the White House retort. We know that Russia has a long history of spreading misinformation and is doing so even now, said Adrienne Watson, a spokesperson for the US National Security Council.
Who is sabotage worthwhile?
What advantage would Russia have in sabotaging Nord Stream? If the answer is none, the suspicions must be shifted to others. However, as Federico Rampini explained on the Corriere della Sera, there are three possible hypotheses that may explain why Moscow’s hand could be behind the explosions. The attack on Nord Stream generates further insecurity on the energy markets and contributes to raising the price of gas in Europe. A second hypothesis is the warning. Three underwater explosions in a NATO-guarded area show how much European infrastructure is exposed. Finally, as feared by Germany, Nord Stream could be out of use forever. This could mean that Moscow wants to sell its gas on other markets, primarily China, and does not even hope to normalize relations with the EU in the future.
Will the Nord Stream be operational again?
The German secret services believe that the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines, after the explosions that caused the gas leaks, could be permanently out of service, according to the German daily Tagesspiegel. The risk, if not repaired quickly, of too much salt water entering and irreversibly corroding the pipes. Moscow for its part has made it known that it is possible to repair the pipelines, but it will take from six months to a year. This was stated by the head of the Energy Commission of the Russian Duma and president of the Russian Gas Society, Pavel Zavalny, proposing two solutions to fix the leaks.
What impact does this have on Europe’s energy supply and the security of its infrastructure?
Russia interrupted supplies from Nord Stream 1 at the end of August while Nord Stream 2 never went into operation, so gas leaks do not affect Europe’s energy supply at the moment. However, the alleged sabotage poses problems. The damage to the two infrastructures, in fact, interrupts supplies through the Baltic Sea for an indefinite time, opening up a future of great uncertainty for central-northern Europe and in particular for Germany, which until now had imported almost all the gas it consumed through the Nord Stream network. As far as Italy is concerned, even when it was fully operational, the pipeline had only a minimal impact, because a large part of the gas arriving from the Tarvisio junction always passed through Ukraine. Having said that, it should be remembered that the EU network is interconnected. Italy, like the other EU countries, has worked in recent months to differentiate its supplies. Currently, Russian gas accounts for less than 10% of Italian needs. The most serious problem, however, is that of infrastructure security. The alleged sabotage of Nord Stream shows how much Europe is exposed to this type of risk.