Nord Stream: Who benefits from pipeline sabotage? Scenarios and theories about the “culprits” – Newsbomb – News

Nord Stream: Who benefits from pipeline sabotage? Scenarios and theories about the “culprits” – Newsbomb – News
Nord Stream: Who benefits from pipeline sabotage? Scenarios and theories about the “culprits” – Newsbomb – News

Conspiracy theories and scenarios are rampant after the unprecedented damage in one day to three submarine lines of the Nord Stream natural gas pipeline system. But who gains from all this?

The Baltics, Finland, Ukraine and the US would theoretically have every reasonable incentive to damage the pipelines, albeit with huge political, strategic and security risks; writes the Asia Times in their analysis of the “thriller” with the leaks in the Nordstream pipelines.

The US has long opposed NATO reliance, especially Germany, from Russian, ex-Soviet, natural gas. The United States, in fact, used export controls to block the original Yamal pipeline in the 1980s, believing that the threat of a cutoff by Russia would change the political decisions of Europe.

As recently as 2018, then-president Donald Trump warned Europeans at the UN General Assembly about the possibility of a Russian power cut. There is video showing the German delegation at the UNGA booing Trump. The reality belied the Germans, as Ukraine came and the severe cuts in the delivery of Russian natural gas to Europe.

Now As Norway and Poland announce the opening of the Trans Baltic pipeline, the Russian pipelines Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 have been damaged near the Danish island of Bornholm in the Baltic Sea. The three separate pipeline breaches effectively rule out the possibility of technical failure.

While the pipelines are not currently operational, they are kept filled with natural gas under pressure, and the gas bubbles up to the surface. This suggests that the damage to both pipelines was significant, although it remains to be fully assessed.

Who did it and why?

Repairs, it seems, will take time, even if Nord Stream1 is given priority, making it unlikely that it will be able to return to service before winter, even if there is a change in the current political situation.

Early speculation was that the Nord Stream pipelines were undermined in an attempt to influence Russia’s war in Ukraine. Such an operation would require the ability to locate the pipelines and place explosives in three different locations. If such a thing happened, the question is who did it and why?

The Nord Stream pipelines they are found in sea depths ranging from 80 to 110 meters. Divers typically operate at 6 meters, so underwater vehicles would be needed to plant explosives in the pipeline or otherwise destroy it.

The underwater pipes for the Nord Stream they are made of steel of DNV quality for wall thicknesses ranging up to 34.4mm and manufactured by six certified producers, one in Russia, four in Europe and one in Japan. The pipes are encased in concrete.

Intentional damage would not be an easy task. Ukraine is convinced that the sabotage was carried out by the Russians. “The large-scale gas leak is nothing more than a terrorist attack planned by Russia and a aggressive action towards the EU“, the adviser to the Ukrainian president, Mykhailo Podoliak, announced on Twitter.

The problem with the narrative that Russia is to blame

The problem with this argument is that Russia if it destroyed its own pipelines, it would lose all leverage in Europe. Both Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 belong to a joint project. Gazprom has 51% and four Western partners (PEGI/E.ON and Wintershall Dea have 15.5% each, while France’s Engie and Dutch Gasunie have 9% each)

Ukraine itself could be a candidate in trying to hurt Russia economically, now and in the future. But if something like this happens and a possible “guilt” of Ukraine is finally established, its relations with Europe and NATO will suffer enormous damage.

Almost every European country has the technical capability to operate offshore with remotely operated vehicles and some of them have developed undersea military services (such as the US Navy’s elite special operations team, Navy SEALS, which can attack and destroy underwater targets. But what European country would want to do that?

It would be a lot dangerous for any European state to carry out a sabotage operation against the two pipelines. First, just as the Russians need Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 intact for their own reasons, the Europeans need them intact for future gas deliveries. Moreover, such a move could be seen by Russia as an act of war.

However, there are some possible exceptions. Finland is in a serious dispute with Russia that started with Finland’s decision to join NATO. In May, Russia cut off gas supplies to Finland, and earlier Russia cut off electricity supplies.

But it is hard to see why Finland could see the Nord Stream pipelines as a target for any retaliation. Finland itself has embargoed Russian coal and oil.

Russia also has a very tense relationship with the Baltic states, and any of them could carry out acts of sabotage against the Nord Stream pipelines. However, the fact that this would deprive Europe of gas supplies for the foreseeable future, assuming the end of sanctions, would make an act of sabotage unlikely for any country depends on NATO for its security.

The role of the US

Could the US sabotage the Nord Stream pipelines to remove it powerful “bargaining paper” of President Vladimir Putin in Europe this winter?

If there was a substantial fear in Washington that Europe could be divided over sanctions to Russia over the Ukraine war to save itself from an energy crisis this winter, then there could be logic in such a move, but also huge political, strategic and security risks.

The US has become a major energy player which ships LNG to Europe in ever-increasing quantities. Europe is using liquefied natural gas from the US to help fill storage tanks for the tough coming winter.

Most US deliveries go through France, with Spain and the Netherlands as secondary routes. There are reports that the US is almost at capacity to deliver LNG to Europe and Asia, and US gas prices could rise significantly if more LNG is shipped.

No one can answer the question of who is sabotaging the Nord Stream pipelines. If nothing else, though, the apparent sabotage of the pipelines demonstrates Europe’s irresponsibility in accepting gas from the only known fact that they got away with it for 37 years, in retrospect, is amazing.

With information from Asia Times

Related news:

Thriller with Nordstream: Sabotage and cyber attacks, a new chapter in the energy war

Nord Stream: Sabotage but by whom? “Knockout” of the pipeline and increase in natural gas prices

Nord Stream: Three submarine pipelines damaged in one day – Pains for sabotage

The article is in Greek

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