Danish and Swedish authorities have issued navigation warnings after two gas leaks were identified on the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, which the Kremlin shut down Earlier this month for an indefinite period in retaliation for Western sanctions.
The warnings came shortly after a separate gas leak was discovered on a second Nord Stream 2 pipeline, a highly controversial project that was frozen by the German government days before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and never became operational.
None of the pipelines currently carry gas to Europe, although some level of supply remains in the infrastructure.
The reason behind the leaks was not immediately clear.
“The causes are being investigated,” Nord Stream AG, the consortium responsible for the pipelines, said on its websitewithout providing further details.
The first leak, through Nord Stream 2, was discovered on Monday evening in the pipeline’s Danish part of the Baltic Sea after a “large drop in pressure”.
the Danish Maritime Authority released a navigation warning and established a no-go zone within five nautical miles (about 9 km) of the site, given that the leak could pose a danger to maritime traffic.
The German government contacted the Danish authorities to find out the reasons behind the issue.
Hours later, two leaks were identified on Nord Stream 1, one in the Danish EEZ and another in the Swedish EEZ in the Baltic Sea.
“Breach of gas pipelines is extremely rare and therefore we see reason to raise the level of preparedness as a result of the incidents we have seen in the last 24 hours,” says Kristoffer Bötzauw, director of the Danish Energy Authority.
The agency noted that since none of the pipelines transported gas to Denmark, the country’s security of supply was not at risk. However, leaked gas can have safety and health consequences for travelers and can also ignite above water and in the air, causing explosions.
Sweden reacted similarly, issuing a navigation warning and asking ships to keep a “safe distance” from the five nautical mile radius, southeast of Bornholm.
Maritime Administration also sent a warning for aircraft, impose a safety height of 1,000 meters over the affected areas.
Nord Steam 1 has the capacity to transport up to 170 million cubic meters of gas per day (or 55 billion cubic meters per year). Russia has been accused of manipulating flows after being hit by EU sanctions in the aftermath of the Ukraine war. Flows reached 20% of total capacity during the summer before the pipeline was completely shut down.
Nord Steam 2 was supposed to double this capacity to 110 billion cubic meters annually.
Klaus Müller, the chairman of the German network regulator, said on Twitter the events underscored the regulator’s assessment that the situation is “tense”.