Sweden concludes explosions and sabotage on North Stream 1 upon investigation

North Stream pipeline gas leak on 27 September as seen from above. Archive photo.

Säpo, the Swedish Security Service, has concluded it was explosions causing significant damage on North Stream 1 and 2 and is therefore strengthened in its suspicion of sabotage. This was stated in a press release published upon an underwater investigation conducted in the Swedish Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), says Danish online news media SN.

Swedish authorities have now abolished the barrier – a ban on shipping, anchoring, diving geophysical mapping ect., which was introduced to conduct the investigation around the damaged sites – upon completing the investigation.

Collected samples from the damaged site are yet to be analyzed and further investigated.

Säpo informs that it has “performed seizes” although no further explanation of what has been seized has followed.

– The Swedish Security Service considers what has happened in the Baltic Sea as very serious. We will follow the progress closely and introduce appropriate measures in terms of the Authorities’ responsibility to protect Sweden and its safety, says Sápo through the press release.

On Wednesday, partly Russian-owned North Stream AG, the company behind the North Stream pipelines, in particular due to Sweden’s ban of anyone or anything going near the damaged sites, said Sweden, Denmark and Norway to be preventing the company from inspecting the damaged sections of the gas pipeline.

According to SN, the Public Prosecutor has declared Sweden was allowed to set up barriers and withhold the ban while investigating the site. This was in line with the general regulations applying for an EEZ, in which the coastal state can temporarily restrict principles of behaviour that would otherwise apply within international waters through, for instance, safety zones.

On 27 September gas leakages was detected on North Stream 1 running from Russia to Germany. Since then, four leakages in total has been confirmed by Danish and Swedish authorities.

According to Danish newspaper Dagbladet Information, the emission of methane to the atmosphere through the Baltic Sea can result in a collective discharge of more than 350.000 ton methane gas, causing the largest gas installation spill ever to be recorded.

The temperature of the ice cube-cold water adds a slight positive effect as increasing temperature enhances methane oxidation rates. Compared to its foreign cousin, methane is much more aggressive than CO2, and Greenpeace estimates that a conversion of the two gasses means the Baltic Sea methane discharge resembles a 29-million-ton CO2-sized climatic impact.

Sources:
https://www.sn.dk/udland/svensk-mistanke-om-nord-stream-sabotage-styrket/
https://www.information.dk/indland/2022/09/metanlaekagen-oestersoeen-kan-vaere-stoerste-nogensinde

About Jeannette Hinrup

Jeannette Sophie Hinrup is a Danish environmental geographer traveling South East Asia while writing for ScandAsia.

View all posts by Jeannette Hinrup

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