Gas leak found on blocked Russian pipeline
Denmark has observed a gas leak near the island of Bornholm in the Baltic Sea and closed the immediate area for traffic, state media reported on Monday. The discovery comes after the Russo-German Nord Stream 2 pipeline suffered a drastic loss of pressure overnight.
“A gas leak is observed at position 54° 52.60'N – 015° 24.60'E,” the Danish Maritime Authority said in a notice to mariners, warning of a “danger to navigation.”
Denmark also closed the area in the radius of five nautical miles (9.26 kilometers) around the site, which is just southeast of Bornholm.
The location is now under investigation, but it has not yet been confirmed if the leak is behind the sudden drop of pressure in the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, the Danish public broadcaster DR reported.
As of Monday evening, pressure has also dropped in both lines of the older Nord Stream 1, Forbes reported, citing the pipeline operator. The cause of the drop was still under investigation.
Nord Stream 1 was built in 2011, enabling Russia to deliver natural gas directly to Germany without having to rely on transit through Ukraine or Poland. Construction on Nord Stream 2 began in 2018, but was hampered by political pressure – and economic sanctions – from the US. The pipeline was finished and pressurized by September 2021.
On February 22 – prior to Russia’s military operation in Ukraine – the government in Berlin placed an indefinite hold on the certification of Nord Stream 2. Since then, Germany has categorically refused any suggestion from Moscow – or its own people – to stop blocking the pipeline.
Meanwhile, the volume of gas supplied through NS1 has dropped, due to what Moscow said were technical issues made worse by the anti-Russian sanctions.