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Germany investigates Nord Stream gas pipeline leak

Authorities are trying to determine the cause of leaks in two gas pipelines running from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea after both suffered a sudden drop in pressure, German and Danish officials said.

Both pipelines, Nord Stream 1 and 2, were out of service, but both were filled with natural gas when they suffered a dramatic drop in pressure on Monday, which authorities say could only have been caused by a leak. .

“There must be big holes; otherwise the pressure would not have eased so quickly,” said Fiete Wulff, a spokesman for Germany’s cyber agency, on Tuesday. “There’s no other way to explain it.”

The pipelines have been at the center of a broader confrontation between Russia and Europe. After the European Union imposed economic sanctions on Russia to punish it for invading Ukraine, Russia began withholding the natural gas it sent in abundance for decades to come. Europe, threatening its energy supply as winter ends.

Officials in Germany and Denmark said it was still unclear what caused the leak but investigations were underway. They said the leak would not affect the security of gas supplies to either country.

Russia’s Gazprom suspended deliveries via Nord Stream 1 indefinitely earlier this month, as part of a continuing dispute with Germany over gas supplies. Nord Stream 2 was never commissioned after Germany canceled its certification the night before Russia invaded Ukraine.

The German Energy Ministry said in a statement on Monday that a grid operator reported a “strong drop in pressure” in the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. The Danish Maritime Authority said the leak appeared to have occurred. off the coast of a Danish island and issued a maritime warning for the area.

The operator of Nord Stream 1 alone said it had detected a drop in pressure, which was later confirmed by the German Economy Ministry. The pipeline is made up of about 100,000 concrete-coated steel pipes designed to withstand the pressure changes experienced by the gas on the 760-mile journey from Russia to Germany. They are located on the bottom of the Baltic Sea.

The head of Germany’s network regulator, Klaus Müller, wrote on Twitter that the country is no longer dependent on Nord Stream 1 but the development has underscored the tense situation surrounding the pipelines.

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