European countries race to find gas leaks in two Russian pipelines

European countries race to find gas leaks in two Russian pipelines

European countries on Tuesday raced to investigate unaxplained leaks in two Russian gas pipelines running under the Baltic Sea near Sweden and Denmark, infrastructure at the heart of an energy crisis since Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Experts and Russia, which built the network, said that the possibility of sabotage could not be ruled out.

Sweden s Maritime Authority issued a warning about two leaks in the Nord Stream 1 pipeline shortly after a leak on the nearby Nord Stream 2 pipeline was discovered that caused Denmark to restrict shipping in a five-nautical mile radius.

Both pipelines have been flashpoints in an escalating energy war between European capitals and Moscow that has pummeled major Western economies, sent gas prices soaring and sparked a hunt for alternative energy supplies.

Russia said the leak in the Russian network was cause for concern and sabotage was one possible cause.

No option can be ruled out right now, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

Neither of the pipelines was pumping gas to Europe at the time the leaks were found, but the incidents will scupper any remaining expectations that Europe could receive gas via Nord Stream 1 before winter.

The destruction that occurred on the same day on three strings of the offshore gas pipelines of the Nord Stream system is unprecedented, said network operator Nord Stream AG. It is not yet possible to estimate the timing of the restoration of the gas transport infrastructure. Both pipelines still contained gas under pressure, though neither were in operation.

Dan Jorgensen, Denmark's energy minister, said in a written comment that leaking gas had been detected in Nord Stream 2 between Russia and Denmark.

Gazprom, the Kremlin-controlled company with a monopoly on Russian gas exports by pipeline, declined to make a statement.

Russia slashed gas supplies to Europe via Nord Stream 1 before suspending flows altogether in August, blaming Western sanctions for technical difficulties. European politicians claim that it was a pretext to stop supplying gas.

The new Nord Stream 2 pipeline had yet to enter commercial operations. Germany scrapped the plan to use it to supply gas days before Russia sent troops into Ukraine in February.