Authorities in Germany are trying to figure out what caused a sudden drop in pressure in the defunct Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, with a spokesman for the operator saying it could have been caused by a leak.
The pipeline has been one of the flashpoints in an escalating energy war between Europe and Moscow since Russia invaded Ukraine in February that has pummelled western economies and sent gas prices going up.
Nord Stream 2 operator said the pressure in the undersea pipeline dropped from 105 to 7 bar overnight.
The Russian-owned pipeline, intended to double the volume of gas flowing from Vyborg, Russia, under the Baltic Sea to Germany, had just been completed and filled with 300 m cubic meters of gas when the German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, cancelled it shortly before Russia invaded Ukraine.
European countries have resisted Russian calls to allow the Nord Stream 2 pipeline to operate and accused Moscow of using energy as a weapon. Russia denies doing so and blames the West for gas shortages.
We are in contact with the authorities in order to clarify the situation. There is still no clear answer to the cause and exact facts, according to a statement from the German economy ministry.
The Swiss-based operator, which has been wound up legally, said it had informed all relevant authorities and that the leak, if that were the cause, could not have been at the landing point in Lubmin, northern Germany.
If it were in Lubmin, you d have heard it, the spokesperson said.
Gazprom asked questions about the incident to the operator of Nord Stream 2.
Germany has informed the Danish authorities about the incident, and is trying to determine whether there has been a drop in pressure in German waters. The government is coordinating its response with the energy regulator, police and local authorities, according to the statement.
Russia has stopped gas supplies to several countries and stopped flows through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, accusing western sanctions of hindering operations.