Nord Stream 1 operator reports "unprecedented" damage to pipeline system
The operator of the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline reported "unprecedented" damage to the system on September 27, with a report in German press claiming the government in Berlin considers sabotage as the likely cause.
"The destruction that occurred on the same day simultaneously on three strings of the offshore gas pipelines of the Nord Stream system is unprecedented," the operator said in a statement. "It is not yet possible to estimate the timing of the restoration of the gas transport infrastructure."
The announcement comes hours after the Swedish Maritime Authority said that leaks had occurred at both the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipelines on September 26, warning ships to stay out of the affected areas. Danish authorities reported on September 26 that a leak had been discovered at one of the two strings of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline in Danish waters. The Nord Stream 1 operating company also said that day that it had recorded a drop in pressure at both of that pipeline's strings as well.
While there has been no official explanation for the leaks, German daily newspaper Tagesspiegel cited sources on September 27 that German authorities suspected sabotage was the cause.
"We can't imagine a scenario that isn't a targeted attack," a person familiar with the German government's assessment told the newspaper. "Everything speaks against a coincidence."
The incidents will have no impact on gas supply entering Europe, as the Nord Stream 1 pipeline was closed down at the end of August due to technical problems, according to Gazprom, although European leaders have said its shutdown was politically-motivated. Germany's government blocked the launch of Nord Stream 2 in late February in response to Moscow's actions in Ukraine. But the pipeline was filled with gas last year as part of the pre-commissioning process.