Six months ago, a series of explosions caused damage to Russia’s undersea Nord Stream gas pipeline. The pipeline’s future has been uncertain due to rising tensions between Moscow and Washington, particularly with an anticipated spring offensive in Ukraine. Earlier this year, there were discussions about the possibility of repairs within a year by the German energy company Uniper. However, sources now tell Reuters that Russia plans to “seal up” the pipelines.
Russia’s Gazprom, a state-controlled oil company, constructed Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2, which consist of two pipes each. These pipelines were designed to transport 110 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually from Russia to Germany via the Baltic Sea.
In September, three of the pipelines were severely damaged by explosions, resulting in ruptures. One of the Nord Stream 2 pipes remained intact.
Although Gazprom has stated that repairing the damaged pipelines is possible, two sources told Reuters that Moscow does not expect relations with the West to improve sufficiently in the near future to warrant the pipelines being repaired.
In January, outgoing Uniper CEO Klaus-Dieter Maubach, which was Russia’s top gas customer before pipeline flows were reduced, said Nord Stream could be repaired within a year. But that’s not politically popular in the EU as countries race to find supplies elsewhere.
However, the Russians aren’t abandoning Nord Stream. Sources said even though repairs might not be imminent, there is a plan for conserving the pipelines “for possible reactivation in the future.” This means that Gazprom would seal the ruptured ends of the damaged lines and coat the insides with an anti-corrosion lubricant.
The possibility of reopening Nord Stream might come if Europe’s ability to offset Russian gas supplies fails. A source said this might push Europe back to buying cheap gas from Russia.
Meanwhile, the investigation into the Nord Stream explosions at the end of September continues amid accusations from Moscow that Western intelligence services are “hiding something.”
Famed journalist and Pulitzer prize winner Seymour Hersh, who for decades was a star reporter writing for The New York Times and New Yorker, published a bombshell report on his Substack last month about the US sabotaging Nord Stream under the guise of a military exercise in 2022.
In recent Senate testimony, US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland praised the Nord Stream sabotage act.
At a Senate hearing, top US diplomat Victoria Nuland celebrated the Nord Stream 2 pipeline bombing:
“Senator Cruz, like you, I am, and I think the administration is, very gratified to know that Nord Stream 2 is now, as you like to say, a hunk of metal at the bottom of the sea.” pic.twitter.com/KS5OM4N165
— Aaron Maté (@aaronjmate) January 27, 2023
… and then there’s this.
⚡️#BREAKING Russia will not allow the West to “blow up gas pipelines” again — Lavrov
— War Monitor (@WarMonitors) March 3, 2023
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