Operator Nord Stream discovers artificial craters at pipeline explosion site


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(Bloomberg) – Gas pipeline operator Nord Stream said an initial survey found man-made craters on the seabed near the damaged gas link.

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Nord Stream AG, led by Russian gas giant Gazprom PJSC, launched a probe into Sweden’s Baltic Sea area last week, following the explosions in September. The blasts damaged both lines of the inactive Nord Stream and a line of the sister pipeline Nord Stream 2 which was unable to start operations due to earlier Western sanctions.

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Western countries have tightened the security of energy infrastructure following the explosions, which they have described as acts of sabotage. Russia has blamed the sabotage on the United States, Ukraine and Poland, calling them « beneficiaries » of the blasts. The United States and its allies have dismissed these claims and suggest that Russia may be behind the underwater explosions.

Citing initial results of the investigation, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday that a 40-meter-long piece of pipe was torn from the Nord Stream in an explosion. The debris was thrown 40 meters to the side, apparently damaging the nearby Nord Stream 2 pipe, he said. « This is clearly a terrorist attack, » Putin said.

« Technogenic craters » 3 to 5 meters deep have been discovered on the seabed about 248 meters (814 feet) apart, operator Nord Stream said. He continues to analyze the survey data.

« The pipe section between the craters is destroyed, the pipe fragment scatter radius is at least 250 meters, » he said, without providing an explanation of the damage.

Sweden and Denmark are separately investigating the damage, which resulted in gas leaks in their exclusive economic zones in the Baltic Sea.



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