March 25, 2023

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What is Nord Stream: when was it built and what role does it have for Europe?

Nord Stream is the name given to offshore gas pipelines that transport natural gas from Russia to Germany via the Baltic Sea.

In 2006, after years of studies and negotiations, the officials of the companies OAO Gazprom (now PJSC Gazprom), E.ON Ruhrgas AG (now E.ON SE) and Wintershall Holding GmbH – BASF (now Wintershall dea AG) established the company Nord Stream AG , whose object of activity is to transport Russian gas to Europe, according to

The Nord Stream project was completed in 2012, and the pipelines from the Baltic Sea were to supply Europe with natural gas for the next 50 years.

Nord Stream is composed of the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipelines, which connect the Russian port of Vyborg with the German port of Greifswald over a distance of 1,200 kilometers through the Baltic Sea.

Nord Stream 1

Construction of Nord Stream 1 began in April 2010 and was completed in June 2011. Gas transportation began in mid-November of the same year. The pipeline can transport around 27.5 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year.

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Nord Stream gas pipeline

The second pipeline, Nord Stream 2, parallel to the first, was built between May 2011 and April 2012 and was commissioned in October 2012.

On July 25, 2022, Gazprom announced that starting July 27, it will reduce the amount of gas transported daily to 33 million cubic meters.

— Gazprom (@GazpromEN) July 25, 2022

Later, at the beginning of September 2022, Gazprom stopped the Nord Stream 1 pipeline indefinitely, citing technical problems.

However, at the time of the failures on September 26, 2002, both the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipelines were full of methane.

According to the International Methane Emissions Observatory, the failures of Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 caused the largest methane leak to date.

However, methane leaks from Nord Stream represent only a small fraction of the amount of methane that is emitted worldwide. The biggest methane pollution is caused by oil and gas extraction, according to the online publication The Verge.

According to the International Energy Agency, in 2019, 82 million tons of methane were emitted during oil and gas extraction.

To reach the amount of 82 million tons of methane would mean that incidents like those at Nord Stream would happen once every two days.

Leaks at the Nord Stream pipelines

According to a UN report, drawn up by officials from Denmark and Sweden, the natural gas leaks from the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines were caused by deflagrations corresponding to “the explosion of several hundred kilograms of TNT”.

“The magnitude of the explosions was measured at 2.3 and 2.1 on the Richter scale, that is, the equivalent of an explosive charge of hundreds of kilograms”the officials announced in a statement addressed to the UN Security Council.

Two of the gas leaks were discovered at the Nord Stream 1 pipeline in the northeast of Denmark’s Bornholm island, and the other two were reported at the Nord Stream 2 pipeline in the southeast of the island.

Finally, on Sunday, October 2, 2022, it was officially announced that the leaks from the two pipelines had stopped.

According to Ulrich Lissek, a spokesman for Nord Stream 2, the water pressure helped to stop the leakage from the pipeline.

“The water pressure has more or less closed the pipe, so the gas that’s inside can’t get out.” Lissek said.

As for the reason for the pipeline burst, the European Union has said it suspects an act of sabotage, but an investigation is ongoing.

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