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Explosions at Nord Stream: what is known, who benefits, what will happen next

At the site of the explosions "Nord Stream" NATO ships were spotted

NATO ships spotted at the site of the Nord Stream explosions

A photo: REUTERS

There will be no more volume deliveries of Russian gas to Europe – at least for several years. According to experts, the blown up Nord Stream pipelines cannot be restored due to the scale of the damage caused by the explosions. If the sounding assumptions that American and NATO special structures are behind the sabotage are confirmed, then this will mean that the West has switched to direct military actions against Russia, which we will have to adequately respond to. It looks like the Doomsday Clock, which measures the time until the global conflict, has already gone by seconds.

WHAT IS KNOWN?

On the evening of Monday, September 26, gas pipeline operators recorded a simultaneous sharp drop in gas pressure in both strings of the Nord Stream pipeline and in one of the two Nord Stream 2 pipelines. With a normal reading of 105 bar, the pressure suddenly dropped to just 7 bar. It is clear that cracks could hardly be the cause of this. Such consequences arise as a result of the appearance of a huge hole in the pipe or even a complete rupture of the gas pipeline. The fact that the accident happened simultaneously on three highways in the area adjacent to the Danish island of Bornholm left no doubt about some external impact on the pipes laid along the bottom. However, neither earthquakes nor landslides of the bottom layers were recorded. But the Swedish seismological station, located not far from the place of emergency, spotted two strong underwater explosions, equivalent in power to 100 kg of TNT. Everything points to a well-planned sabotage. But who carried it out? There is no direct answer yet, but here is a set of revealed facts. According to the Politicus portal, a few hours before the explosions, the US Navy expeditionary force, led by the landing ship Kearsarge, announced the completion of work in the Bornholm area and proceeded through the Baltic Straits to the North Sea. The Russia Now project reported that the day before, an open report was registered in the US Congress that British scuba divers conducted exercises in the area of ​​the Bornholm depression for three days. Finally, on Tuesday, reports appeared on the Internet about the award of two sailors from the Royal Navy of Great Britain for “carrying out important events in international waters.”

Press Secretary of the President of Russia Dmitry Peskov was extremely serious, admitting the possibility of sabotage: “This is a completely unprecedented situation that requires urgent investigation. We are extremely concerned about this news. Now we cannot rule out a single option,” he told reporters.

WHO IS FAVORABLE?

It is no secret that the completed Nord Stream 2 was never commissioned solely because of US pressure on Germany and other European countries. President Joe Biden, with an old-fashioned lack of restraint in his language, stated bluntly back in February: “If Russia invades (Ukraine – Ed.), Then there will be no more Nord Stream 2. We will put an end to this.” But no one imagined that the Americans would do it physically. “Thank you, USA!” ex-Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland, and now MEP Radek Sikorski, wrote overjoyed on his Twitter page, accompanying his tweet with a photo of an underwater gas explosion in the area of ​​the leak.

The statement of the Pole was caustically commented by the official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova: “Is this an official statement about a terrorist attack?”

The United States, represented by Secretary of State Tony Blinken, has already categorically rejected the version of sabotage at Nord Stream. And the European and, of course, the Ukrainian media, as if on cue, began to assert that the gas pipelines were blown up by … Russia itself. Why the Russians spoil their own strategic gas arteries is not explained. Meanwhile, social networks are already swearing with might and main: “Our poor European friends, NATO forces and US troops advanced from their military bases towards the gas pipelines, but they have no way even to guess who could be behind the explosions. Moreover, the Russians could have blown up, for example, a gas pipeline from Norway to Poland or Norway to another part of Europe, but they decided to blow themselves up.”

You can say whatever you want, but it is clear that the shutdown of Nord Stream, and for a long time, is clearly beneficial to the United States, as it makes them the main supplier of liquefied natural gas to Europe. Washington has been seeking this for a long time and now, apparently, believes that it has killed two birds with one stone: it dealt a tangible blow to Russia, cutting it off from the supply of blue fuel to European consumers, and hooked them on its uncontested LNG, the prices of which will be dictated by itself. Bloomberg claims that to survive this winter, Europe will have to import 40 percent more liquefied natural gas than in previous years. And the Americans will have to take it.

WHAT’S NEXT?

Nord Stream’s capacity was 55 billion cubic meters. m in each. Now these deliveries will not be. It is not yet known how long the repair of damaged gas pipelines will last and whether it is possible at all due to the unique design of the pipes. The accident occurred at a depth of 100 meters, it is necessary to carefully examine the accident site. But it is not a fact that Denmark (obviously not without the participation of the United States) will allow Russian specialists to carry out work in its exclusive economic zone.

Part of our gas continues to go to Europe through the territory of Ukraine. However, its volumes are not large, and, apparently, pumping along this route will soon be stopped – enough to appease the Kyiv regime. The day after the explosions at the bottom of the Baltic Sea, the Baltic Pipe pipeline (“Baltic Pipe”) began operation, connecting gas-rich Norway with Poland in transit through Denmark. Its design capacity is 10 billion cubic meters per year, and it is through its supply that the Polish government hopes to replace Russian gas.

However, Russia will not be left without money. The total profit of Gazprom for 6 months of 2022 amounted to more than 3 trillion rubles, which is more than 2 times higher than the value of the first half of 2021 and is a new historical record. These profits have already more than paid for the construction costs of the never launched Nord Stream 2. The issue of the accelerated construction of the second string of the Power of Siberia gas pipeline to China has been practically resolved, deliveries through which will bring the country up to 220 billion dollars.

Last year, we sold 251 billion cubic meters of gas abroad. The Russian energy agency Minenergo has made two forecasts for 2030. According to the optimistic scenario, the total volume will grow to 265 billion (+ 5.6% of cubic meters compared to 2021). On the negative side, a decrease in supplies will amount to 167 billion cubic meters (-33.4% compared to 2021). However, both of these scenarios assume a reduction in gas supplies through gas pipelines and an increase in the share of liquefied natural gas supplies.

A photo: Alexey STEFANOV

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