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'Nord Stream pipeline leaks have shown Europe's vulnerability'

Dr Swasti Rao, Associate Fellow at Manohar Parrikar-IDSA's Europe and Eurasia Centre, decodes the energy and geo-political situation in Europe following the detection of four leaks on the Nord Stream pipelines.

Nord Stream pipeline leaks have shown Europe's vulnerability: Expert
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First Published Oct 3, 2022, 6:48 PM IST

Accusations continue to be hurled around over the massive leaks from two Nord Stream pipelines supplying gas from Russia to Europe through the Baltic Sea. European leaders have accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of weaponising the natural gas supply. However, Putin has alleged the involvement of the West in trying to blow up the pipelines. Days ago, Norway announced that it would get assistance from the United Kingdom, Germany and France to patrol the seas around its oil and gas platforms. Norway has stepped up energy production to supply around 30 per cent of gas demand. The country has now become the most important single source of gas supply.

Also Read: Explained: What is the Nord Stream gas pipeline leak controversy about?

Asianet Newsable spoke to Dr Swasti Rao, Associate Fellow at Manohar Parrikar-IDSA's Europe and Eurasia Centre, to understand the energy situation in Europe.

"Europe is already undergoing a major energy crisis right now. Gas supply from Nord Stream has already been cut off by Putin, an expression of weaponising energy. Time will tell who sabotaged the pipeline.

"So far, we have learned about the four leakages in Nord Stream 1 and 2. It has actually shown the vulnerability of Europe's critical infrastructure. So Europe's critical infrastructure is likely at risk after the Nord Stream pipeline explosions. Now, it is believed that Russia has orchestrated the explosions, but there are lots of theories floating in. It definitely looks like a case of sabotage. Whether it is done by Russia or anyone else -- only time will tell," she said. 

Nord Stream pipeline leaks have shown Europe's vulnerability: Expert

Pipeline leak impact on Europe

"Countries around Europe have started taking measures. For example, Norway has two major pipelines that are linked to the United Kingdom. It has already deployed its military for security and safety of the pipelines," Dr Swasti said.

"Europe is already undergoing a major transformation regarding energy security and challenges. The way energy has been weaponised, now that kind of thing they ever expected. With Nord Streams being attacked, this risk would also extend to other pipelines. So Norway has already done that," she said, adding, "Britain has dozens of pipelines in the waters close to Norway. Britain has been instrumental in delivering military aid and other assistance to Ukraine." 

The expert noted, "The CIA had already warned Germany of an impending attack on Nord Streams. Germany is now saying that 'whatever we thought previously was unimaginable, we should be preparing ourselves for as there are no limits to threats coming in from Moscow'."

"Right now, Europeans are under the impression that by whatever evidence they have, this is a case of sabotage that Putin has orchestrated. That's because they feel Putin has been pushed to a point where he needs to show results and victory. So, he can go to any extent," she added.

Nord Stream pipeline leaks have shown Europe's vulnerability: Expert

Impact on climate change

According to Dr Swasti, the Nord Stream pipeline leaks can have global implications. 

"Nord Stream pipelines contain natural gas, and what are the components of the gas? Methane. Its leakage is far more potent than carbon dioxide. The Nordic countries -- Denmark, Iceland, etc. -- are pioneers in green energy and climate-related technologies. They are very, very worried about these methane leaks. The leaks from two pipelines are estimated to be over 500MT of methane every hour, which is massive. This is going to have major climate change and implications," she said.

Also Read: CIA is investing in project to bring back woolly mammoth from extinction

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