Denmark’s Nord Stream probe finds sabotage, not enough grounds for case | Oil and Gas News

Police find deliberate sabotage responsible for 2022 blasts at Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines but not sufficient grounds to pursue criminal case.

Denmark says it has closed its investigation into mysterious blasts that in 2022 damaged two pipelines built to carry Russian gas to Europe, with authorities concluding they were an act of sabotage but there were not enough grounds for a criminal case.

The explosions at the multibillion-dollar Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines contributed to tensions that followed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine two years ago. Russia and Ukraine’s Western allies swiftly traded blame over the incident under the Baltic Sea, which also caused environmentally damaging releases of vast amounts of methane into the air.

Danish police said in a statement on Monday that their investigation – one of three into the explosions – had found “there was deliberate sabotage” of the pipelines, but “the assessment is that there are not sufficient grounds to pursue a criminal case”.

In response to the announcement, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the decision was “close to absurdity” and accused Denmark of closing the case to cover up for its allies.

“On the one hand, they recognise that a deliberate sabotage took place, but on the other hand they are not moving forward,” Peskov told journalists, adding that Denmark had refused requests to provide information about its investigation.

Denmark’s announcement came after Sweden also said earlier this month it was closing its probe, noting that the case did not fall under its jurisdiction. Swedish officials also said they handed over to Germany “material that can be used as evidence in the German investigation”.

The German federal prosecutor’s office said on Monday that its investigation continues and that it would not provide more information.

The undersea explosions shortly after midnight on September 26, 2022 ruptured the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, which was Russia’s main natural gas supply route to Germany until Russia cut off supplies at the end of the previous month.

They also damaged the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which never entered service because Germany suspended its certification process shortly before the invasion of Ukraine.

The explosions took place about 80 metres (260 feet) underwater on the ocean floor in the Baltic Sea. Seismic measurements indicated that they occurred shortly before the discovery of unexplained leaks.

Blame game

Months after the detonations, there is no accepted explanation. As investigations continue, a series of unconfirmed reports have variously accused Russia, the United States and Ukraine of sabotage.

The pipelines were long a target of criticism by the United States and some of its allies, who warned that they posed a risk to Europe’s energy security by increasing dependence on Russian gas.

Russia has accused the US of staging the explosions, which they have described as a terror attack. The US has denied involvement.

In March 2023, German media reported that a pro-Ukraine group was involved in the explosions using a vessel and setting off from the German port of Rostock. Ukraine rejected suggestions it might have ordered the attack and German officials voiced caution over the accusation.

Swedish prosecutors earlier hinted that the identity of the perpetrator was likely to remain unclear.

Beyond their geopolitical impact, the Nord Stream pipeline leaks were a huge environmental disaster with local wildlife affected and huge volumes of methane discharged into the Baltic Sea in what observers believe could be the single largest release of methane due to human activity.

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