On Monday, gas leaks from the Russian Nord Stream 2 pipeline were recorded. Russia’s Nord Stream 2 Pipeline from Russia to Germany lost all pressure from 300 to 7 bars. On Tuesday, there was an explosion in the places where gas from the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline began to leak. The Swedish and Danish authorities informed about it. It is not certain what caused the explosion or whether it was sabotage. So the pipeline exploded and the culprit is still unknown. Europe will experience a harsh winter without Russian gas. However, there is another big problem, a giant gas leak can cause an ecological disaster.

The end of gas supplies for Europe through an important gas pipeline

The Nord Stream gas pipelines are crucial for the supply of gas from Russia to Europe. This event has not only a geopolitical impact, but also a significant ecological impact. A total of three leaks have been detected on the gas pipelines Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 near the island of Bornholm in Denmark, according to the Danish energy authority. Ships were advised to keep a distance of at least 9 kilometers from the site. When there was a big drop in pressure on Monday, seismologists saw high activity in the area. No one from Russia or Europe knows the cause yet, at least according to the media.

Ecological disaster

Natural gas from a damaged pipeline is made up mainly of methane. It is a greenhouse gas that can trap 25 times more heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide. Part of the gas reaches the surface and then into the atmosphere. Much of the leaked gas dissolves in the sea and this can significantly disrupt the ecosystem. The water in the sea becomes toxic and this can endanger fish, shellfish and other marine life.

“In the event of a leak in the Nordstream pipeline, the gas rises directly to the water surface, i.e. the effects will probably remain local. There, however, the animals create the danger of suffocating. This applies in particular to animals that cannot escape quickly,” Nadja Ziebarth, a marine protection expert from Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND), said in a statement.

“The biggest immediate effect is, of course, that a valuable resource is lost and at the same time freed up in greenhouse gas,” added Ziebarth.

“Pure methane is in the Seawater non-toxic, but the composition of natural gas varies depending on the deposit. Because it is unclear which mixture is transported precisely in Nordstream, other gases could cause unknown damage to the marine ecosystem locally.”

Will the pipeline be repaired?

It is uncertain whether gas supplies from the Nord Stream pipelines will ever be restored. If an attempt were made to repair the damaged pipeline, it could take many months. Both Sweden and Denmark convened crisis teams due to the leaks. These are not the only gas pipelines, gas can also flow to Europe through the Yamal gas pipeline, which runs through Belarus and Poland, but also through the Soyuz and Brotherhood gas pipelines, which pass through Ukraine.


Featured photo credit: Forsvaret