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
Gas emissions in the Baltic Sea from the Nord Stream pipeline on September 27th. Photo: Swedish Coast Guard

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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Denmark recovers object near sabotaged Nord Stream pipeline

Denmark has recovered a cylindrical object spotted near the sabotaged Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, the Danish Energy Agency announced Wednesday, adding it was a "smoke buoy".

Denmark recovers object near sabotaged Nord Stream pipeline

The energy agency said in a statement that the object had been recovered at a depth of 73 metres and that a “representative of the owner, Nord
Stream 2 AG, was present during the salvage.”

According to the agency, the recovery was completed on March 28th.

“Investigations indicate that the object is an empty maritime smoke buoy, which is used for visual marking,” it said in a statement, adding that “the
object does not pose a safety risk.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin has claimed experts believe that it could be a signal antenna to activate an explosive in that part of the pipeline.

Nearly six months after the explosions that hit the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines, it is still a mystery who was responsible for the underwater
sabotage, despite criminal investigations in the countries bordering the damaged part of the pipeline — Germany, Sweden and Denmark.

Russian energy giant Gazprom holds a majority stake in the twin pipelines, with the rest owned by German, Dutch and French companies.

German prosecutors said earlier this month that, in January, investigators searched a ship suspected of having transported explosives used in the blasts.

Confirmation of the searches came after the New York Times reported that US officials had seen new intelligence indicating that a “pro-Ukrainian group”
was responsible for the sabotage.

The Ukrainian government denied involvement in the action, while the Kremlin rejected the Times report as a “diversion”.

READ ALSO: Denmark invites Nord Stream owner to recover mystery object