Two undersea leaks that began in the Nord Stream 1 and 2 natural gas pipelines were likely caused by underwater explosions, according to seismographic data.
Bjorn Lund, director of the Swedish National Seismic Network at Uppsala University, told NPR Wednesday that it is “very clear from the seismic record that these are blasts.” Neither of the gas pipelines were active when officials reported sudden losses of gas pressure late on Monday, which they said could only be caused by significant leaks.
“These are not earthquakes,” he added. “They are not landslides underwater.” And in an interview with Swedish television, Lund said he has “no doubt that these were explosions.”
His team was able to determine that the blasts occurred in the vicinity of the location of the pipelines. Both Danish and Swedish seismic agencies picked up the alleged explosions on Monday, he said.
“We’re not spot on, but we’re fairly close to the area of the leakage,” Lund told NPR, adding, “There’s nothing I could come up with that would produce this.”
H.I. Sutton, who has written on submarine warfare, said that where the alleged blasts occurred, the water was at a relatively shallow depth. Divers or unmanned vehicles could have easily accessed it, he wrote.
“The leak is near the Danish island of Bornholm, at 54.8762°, 15.4099° in [approximately] 70 meters of water,” he wrote on Twitter. “This would be divable 2 things do make it suspicious: a) It is just over 12 nautical miles from the Island in International waters b) the [exclusive economic zone] here is disputed here.”
U.S. officials on Tuesday noted that there is a possibility that the leaks were caused deliberately. But European Union leaders were more explicit and said the damage was done intentionally.
“The European Union is deeply concerned about damage to the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines that has resulted in leaks in the international waters of the Baltic Sea,” the European Council said in a statement. “Safety and environmental concerns are of utmost priority. These incidents are not a coincidence and affect us all.”
Other officials, including Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, also suggested the incident was a deliberate act. No group or nation-state has claimed responsibility.
It’s “hard to imagine,” Frederiksen told European media outlets, that the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipeline leaks were “accidental.”
While some have suggested that Russia may have been behind the incident, it was denied by top officials in Moscow.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov on Wednesday told reporters that Russia isn’t behind the leaks, adding such claims are “quite predictable and also predictably stupid,” Reuters reported.
Both Nord Stream I and II run from Russia to Germany, with Nord Stream I delivering billions of cubic feet of natural gas from Russia to Europe over the years.
Since the start of the Ukraine conflict, Germany suspended the accreditation of Nord Stream II, and Nord Stream I has been plagued by shutdowns. Months after the start of the Ukraine–Russia conflict, EU officials said European countries would move to reduce dependence on Russian gas and other energy imports, including via Nord Stream I.
But Peksov said that the damage this week “is a big problem” for Russia.
“Firstly, both lines of Nord Stream ... are filled with gas. The entire system is ready to pump gas and the gas is very expensive ... now the gas is flying off into the air,” Peskov said.
“Are we interested in that? No, we are not, we have lost a route for gas supplies to Europe,” he added.
Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter with 15 years experience who started as a local New York City reporter. Having joined The Epoch Times' news team in 2009, Jack was born and raised near Modesto in California's Central Valley. Follow him on X: https://twitter.com/jackphillips5