Experts can now focus on a single gas line. Nord Stream 2, which connects Russia to Germany, has actually stopped leaking under the Baltic Sea. “The water pressure has more or less sealed the pipeline, so the gas inside cannot escape,” said Ulrich Lissek, spokesman for Nord Stream 2. “The conclusion is that there is still gas in the pipeline,” he added, without to specify the amount.
Nord Stream 1 and 2 infrastructure, built to transport Russian gas to Europe, was damaged by underwater explosions off a Danish island in the Baltic Sea on Monday, causing intense boiling. Information on the status of the leak at the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline was not immediately available.
The two pipelines, operated by a consortium dependent on Russian giant Gazprom, have been the objects of geopolitical arm wrestling in recent months and have been down due to the aftermath of the war in Ukraine. But both were still filled with gas.
Less and less gas in the lines
On Friday evening, the Swedish Coast Guard announced that the leaks at Nord Stream 2 were showing major signs of weakening due to the depletion of the gas contained in the pipes. The diameter of the surface bubble caused by the leak in the Swedish exclusive economic zone was only 20 meters wide, ten times smaller than when it started.
The leak at Nord Stream 1, stronger, had also weakened by the end of the day on Friday as a marine boiled down to 600 meters in diameter, down from 900 to 1,000 at the start. Danish and Swedish authorities had estimated in a letter to the UN Security Council on Friday that the leaks should stop by Sunday, when tens of thousands of tons of gas in the gas pipelines are exhausted.
“All available information indicates that these explosions are the result of a deliberate act,” wrote Sweden and Denmark, but without pointing to a responsible country. The origin of the explosions remains a mystery, with Moscow and Washington denying any responsibility. Ukraine has claimed the leaks were the result of a “planned terrorist attack” by Russia on European countries.