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NORD STREAM

Nord Stream to inspect pipeline damage in Danish zone

Danish authorities said Friday they had given Russian-owned company Nord Stream authorisation to inspect damage at its Baltic Sea pipelines in Denmark's economic zone, after a suspected act of sabotage in September.

Nord Stream to inspect pipeline damage in Danish zone
Nord Stream headquarters in Zug, Switzerland. Photo: Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix

“Nord Stream AG has been authorised to carry out a marine study in an area located in Denmark’s exclusive economic zone”, the Danish Geodata Agency told AFP.

It said the permit was given on November 1st to the pipeline operator — which is majority owned by Russia’s Gazprom.

Four large gas leaks were discovered on Nord Stream’s two pipelines off the Danish island of Bornholm at the end of September, with seismic institutes recording two underwater explosions just prior.

While the leaks were in international waters, two of them were in the Danish exclusive economic zone and two of them in Sweden’s.

Preliminary inspections have reinforced suspicions of sabotage, according to investigators.

At the end of October, Nord Stream sent a Russian-flagged civilian vessel to inspect the damage in the Swedish zone.

Sweden and Denmark cannot block anyone from carrying out their own inspections in international waters.

But the two countries, which have launched their own investigations into the incident, have refused to give Russia access to their probes.

“We want to get to the bottom of things, and we will do so with our allies,” Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod said in September.

The pipelines, which connect Russia to Germany, have been at the centre of geopolitical tensions as Russia cut gas supplies to Europe in suspected retaliation to Western sanctions over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

Although they were not in operation when the leaks occurred, they both still contained gas which spewed up through the water and into the atmosphere.

Washington and Moscow have both denied any involvement and each has pointed the finger at the other.

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NORD STREAM

Denmark reduces energy infrastructure alert level

Denmark's electricity and gas grid operator on Thursday lowered its vigilance level, which had been raised considerably after sabotage hit the Nord Stream gas pipelines off the Danish coast in late September.

Denmark reduces energy infrastructure alert level

The vigilance level has now been reduced to “green”, its second lowest level, after it was already lowered one step, from “orange” to “yellow” at the end of October, Energinet said in a statement.

The move followed a request from the Danish Energy Agency to lower the vigilance level after “an analysis of the threat level”, the grid operator explained.

Four large gas leaks were discovered on Nord Stream’s two pipelines off the Danish island of Bornholm at the end of September, with seismic institutes recording two underwater explosions just prior.

While the leaks were in international waters, two of them were in the Danish exclusive economic zone and two in Sweden’s.

Investigations by Danish and Swedish authorities have confirmed the leaks were due to sabotage and experts have said that only a state has the means to carry out such an operation.

But investigations have not identified who was responsible.

In early November, Moscow accused Britain of “directing and coordinating” the explosions.

The accusation was rejected as “distractions which are part of the Russian playbook” by a spokesman for British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

Although the pipelines were not in operation when the leaks occurred, they both still contained gas which spewed up through the water and into the atmosphere.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre announced at the end of November that they had launched an initiative within NATO to better protect maritime infrastructures.

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