Copenhagen, Sep 28 (EFE).- Denmark’s defense minister said a probe into the alleged “sabotage” of the Nord Stream gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea was underway but could take several weeks before safe access could be granted.
The specter of sabotage was raised by European nations after three leaks in sections of the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipelines near the Danish island of Bornholm.
“It’s going to take time. If you listen to those who know how much gas is in the pipelines and how long it will take for the pressure to drop, the reality is that it may take a week or 14 days for the area to be sufficiently calm,” Morten Bødskov told the Danish news agency Ritzau, after a meeting with Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg at the Alliance’s headquarters in Brussels.
Stoltenberg described the incident on Twitter as “sabotage” and said he had discussed the protection of the critical infrastructure of Nato countries with Bødskov.
Both Denmark and Sweden on Tuesday said the damage could be “intentional.”
The Kremlin on Wednesday dismissed suggestions that Russia was behind the damage as “foolish and absurd.”
Hours before Bødskov’s statements, the Danish Energy Agency raised the emergency level in the electricity and gas sectors to the second highest level.
Sweden has also taken similar steps, as has neighboring Norway, Western Europe’s leading oil and gas exporter.
The operator of the Nord Stream gas pipeline on Wednesday reported it had located the damage to the pipeline infrastructure in the Baltic Sea.
“The significant pressure drop caused by the gas leak on both lines of the gas pipeline registered yesterday leads to a strong assumption of the pipeline physical damage,” Nord Stream AG said in a statement.
“Nord Stream AG has started mobilization of all necessary resources for a survey campaign to assess the damages in cooperation exchange with relevant local authorities” in Denmark and Sweden, the statement added.
“Currently, it is not possible to estimate a timeframe for restoring the gas transport infrastructure. The causes of the incident will be clarified as a result of the investigation,” the operator said.
According to the Nord Stream operator, the alleged damage has been located northeast of Bornholm in the Swedish and Danish exclusive economic zones.
The Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline has been inoperative for a month. Operations first stopped for “routine maintenance work” and later over an alleged oil leak that Russia says it cannot repair due to Western sanctions imposed due to the war in Ukraine.
Although neither pipeline is operational after Berlin froze the Nord Stream 2 project — which would have doubled the flow of gas from Russia to Germany — over the war in Ukraine, the pipelines are filled with gas and a stable pressure must be maintained.