RUSSIA: After a gas leak from the defunct Russian-owned Nord Stream 2 pipeline was drained into the Baltic Sea during the previous night, the Danish government ordered ships to avoid the area five nautical miles offshore of the island of Bornholm on Monday.
The German government stated that it was in touch with Danish authorities and collaborating with local law enforcement to determine what caused pressure in the pipeline to unexpectedly drop. The Danish Ministry of Energy declined to respond.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, when major Western economies were severely damaged and gas prices skyrocketed, the pipeline has been one of the flashpoints in an intensifying energy war between Europe and Moscow.
The Nord Stream 2 pipeline in the Danish area experienced a leak today, according to a statement from Denmark’s energy agency.
Since the pipeline “is dangerous for ship traffic,” Danish marine authorities issued a navigation alert and set a zone around it.
The operator of Nord Stream 2 reported that pressure in the pipeline, which had some gas trapped within despite never becoming operational, declined from 105 to 7 bars throughout the night.
When Germany terminated the pipeline just days before the invasion, it had just been built and was filled with 300 million cubic meters of gas. The pipeline was designed to increase the amount of gas flowing from St. Petersburg under the Baltic Sea to Germany.
Danish politicians had a strong dislike for Nord Stream 2, and in 2017 the nation approved a law allowing it to forbid the project from running through its territorial seas based on security reasons.
However, Nord Stream 2 later modified its initial course to pass through Denmark’s exclusive economic zone, avoiding the use of this veto.
Monday’s gas leak occurred a day before the ceremonial launch of the Baltic pipeline transporting gas from Norway to Poland.
The project is central to Warsaw’s efforts to diversify away from Russian gas. Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen is scheduled to travel to Poland on Tuesday on this occasion.
Nord Stream 2 has been widely unpopular among Danish lawmakers, and the country passed a law in 2017 that allowed it to ban the project from passing through its territorial waters for security reasons.
But Nord Stream 2 later changed the original route to take it through Denmark’s exclusive economic zone, where this veto could not be exercised.