Denmark has invited the operator of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, Nord Stream 2 AG, to help salvage an unidentified object that was discovered close to the only remaining intact gas pipeline in the Baltic Sea.
The pipeline is responsible for delivering Russian gas to Germany. This invitation is aimed at further clarifying the nature of the object that was discovered during an inspection of the pipeline.
Background: What we must know about Nord Stream 2
The Nord Stream 2 pipeline has been the subject of controversy and political tension since its construction. The pipeline was built to bypass existing transit routes for Russian gas that run through Ukraine.
It has been opposed by the US, Ukraine, Poland, and other Eastern European nations, as they believe it increases Europe’s energy dependence on Russia, weakens Ukraine’s energy security, and gives Russia more leverage over Europe.
On the other hand, Germany and other European countries argue that the project is necessary to ensure their energy security and to reduce the cost of gas imports.
Nord Stream pipelines were damaged by explosions
Three explosions occurred on the Nord Stream pipelines, which have become another flashpoint in the ongoing standoff between the West and Russia, set off by the latter’s invasion of Ukraine.
The explosions occurred in Sweden and Denmark’s exclusive economic zones. Both countries have stated that the explosions were planned, but neither has determined who was responsible.
Discovery of an unidentified object
During an inspection of the last remaining intact pipeline by the Swiss-based operator, Nord Stream 2 AG, a tubular object protruding around 40 cm (16 inches) from the seabed and 10 cm in diameter was discovered.
Although Danish authorities have assessed that the object does not pose any immediate safety risk, they want to salvage the object with the assistance of the Danish Defence to further clarify its nature.
Danish Energy Agency’s statement
The Danish Energy Agency has invited Nord Stream 2 AG to take part in the operation and is waiting for a response from the operator. Gazprom, Russia’s state-owned gas company, owns the pipeline operator.
The Danish authorities hope that the invitation will help to clarify the nature of the object.
It is unclear whether the object mentioned by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who mentioned the discovery of an antenna-like object approximately 30 kilometers (19 miles) from the explosion sites, is the same object that Danish authorities will try to salvage.
Last intact pipeline
As Europe has severed most energy ties with Russia, the last intact pipeline has remained idle. The pipeline still has gas in it, but the operator stated last year that it had reduced the pressure as a precaution.
The discovery of the unidentified object close to the only remaining intact gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea has added to the controversy surrounding the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
Denmark’s invitation to the operator to assist in the operation of salvaging the object has raised questions about the pipeline’s safety and the nature of the object. The ongoing tension surrounding the pipeline highlights the delicate balance between Europe’s energy security and its dependence on Russia.