Good news: Nord Stream could be repairable

[Update 10/05/2022].  Russian authorities reported that one of the two lines of Nord Stream 2 was undamaged, and Gazprom can resume supplying gas to customers as soon as it is inspected to make sure it is working properly.  

“Resume” is the wrong word, because Germany hAS refused to accept gas from that source.  And the remaining line will not be a complete replacement for the previously operating four lines.  Still, this is potentially good news.  (Note to self: Follow Russian news media more closely.)

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MOSCOW, October 2. /TASS/. It is technically possible to repair Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipelines, though much time and funds will be needed, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said in an interview with the host of the “Moscow. Kremlin. Putin” show Pavel Zarubin.

“No such incidents have occurred yet. Obviously, technically it is possible to restore infrastructure, though it requires time and respective funds. I am confident such possibilities will be found,” he said in the program aired on Sunday.

“As of today, we assume it is first of all necessary to find out who did it, and we are confident countries that previously expressed certain views are interested in it.  Both the US, and Ukraine, and Poland said at some point that ‘this infrastructure will not work, and they would do everything for that,” which is why it is surely necessary to find it out,” Novak said.

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This is good news indeed.  A permanent loss of access to Russian natural gas would be catastrophic to the European economy.  No other pipeline serving Europe has the same capacity as Nord Stream 1 and 2.

But a number of things would have to happen before repairs could take place.

The Russians would need assurance that the pipelines would not be sabotaged again a second time.  They have demanded the saboteurs be identified.   And they would need the lifting of economic sanctions that interfere with access to repair equipment. 

Furthermore it’s estimated that repairs would take six months or more.  Russian gas would not be available to help Europeans get through the winter.

And there is a limited window of opportunity to start the repairs.  German experts say that in a few months, sea water will corrode the broken pipes and make repairs impossible.

The U.S. press is almost unanimous in claiming the Russians destroyed their own pipelines.  This is ridiculous.  

The Russians spent years and billions of dollars to construct these pipelines.  They give Russia an importance source of revenue and a powerful lever of power.  

Why would the Russians throw these advantages away?  If they had wanted to cut off Europe’s supply of gas, they could have done this with the turn of a valve.

Suspicion logically falls on the United States government, which has objected to construction of the pipeline and used economic sanctions to try to prevent the pipelines from being built or use.  President Biden in a press conference in February said that if Russia invaded Ukraine, the Nord Stream 2 pipeline would not go into operation.

So the pipeline will not be repaired unless U.S. leaders find someone else to convincingly blame – Poles, Ukrainians, perhaps rogue elements within the U.S. government itself.  Or unless Russian leaders can be persuaded to forgive and forget.  I don’t think either of these things is likely.

LINKS

Gazprom reveals hope for Nord Stream 2 by RT Business News.  [Added 10/05/2022]

Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak considers repair of Nord Stream, with time and funds required by TASS.

Here’s how the Nord Stream gas pipeline could be fixed by Chris Stokel-Walker for MIT Technology Review.

Nord Stream Repair No Easy Matter by Noah Brenner for Energy Intelligence.

Single line of Nord Stream 2 can still export gas, experts say, by Reuters.

The Nord Stream 2 Pipeline Sabotage by MonkeyWerz.  How it might have been done. 

Anthony Blinken’s “Tremendous Opportunity” Ain’t Good News for German and the United Kingdom by Larry Johnson for Son of the New American Revolution.

Washington, Brussels Set Sights on TurkStream Pipeline by Conor Gallagher for Naked Capitalism.  [Added 10/06/2022].  The next pipeline to be shut down?

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9 Responses to “Good news: Nord Stream could be repairable”

  1. Gerry Dunphy Says:

    It really doesn’t make sense that the Russians would sabotage a system that they have spent years and billions of dollars creating. I heard an interview with the Danish president saying they were trying to do an independent investigation into who is responsible..

    You mention an important point regarding repair of the system. Unless repairs are initiated soon, repairs to a system that can supply the energy Ned’s of Europe will be imposible

    Like

  2. Fred (Au Natural) Says:

    I figured it could be. Other pipelines have been repaired. The trick is to get to it before significant corrosion from salt water takes place. The Russian will have to cooperate in this which gives them leverage.

    The Russian are the obvious suspects, doing it as a warning to Europe that their infrastructure was vulnerable. Having it happen so close to the opening of a Norway-Poland pipeline cannot be a coincidence. The easiest way to blow the thing up is from the inside and if that’s how it happened it points the finger at Russia. If it was blown up from the outside, it may leave it officially unattributable.

    But you can’t rule out the possibility of a false flag. A fishing boat, a couple of skilled divers, some C-4, and 4 timers are all you need. Anyone who really wanted to close it down for good would have blown each of the 4 pipelines in many places.

    Like

    • philebersole Says:

      To look to who sabotaged the pipeline, consider whose interests were served. It wasn’t Russia’s and it wasn’t Germany’s. There is a higher probability that it was done by extraterrestrials than it was done by Russia.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Fred (Au Natural) Says:

        It was in Russia’s interest. The pipeline is dead and will remain so because when they closed down Nordstream 1, Germany made the decision to do without.

        The pipeline can be repaired. In fact, underwater gas pipelines are designed for it. There is an anticorrosion coating on the inside. All kinds of accidents can damage or break pipelines. One of the most common is a ship dragging its anchor.

        The possibility of hitting unexploded WWII ordinance was considered in the Nordstream pipeline design. It is built to with stand a 2-ton TNT explosion Clapping a few pounds – or even a hundred pounds of C-4 onto it wouldn’t be enough. That pretty much limits the suspect to a submarine torpedo or an internal explosion.

        This is very shallow and very busy water. It isn’t like ships and aircraft from every country in the region don’t traverse it regularly.

        Since it can be repaired and since no gas is being pumped for the foreseeable future, Russia really hasn’t lost anything. If Germany REALLY wants that gas badly enough, they’ll pay for the repairs in exchange for a small discount on what comes through.

        If you really believe the US is in control of German policy, they wouldn’t be able to go back onto Russian gas if they wanted to. Putin clearly believes this, that all of NATO is just an extension of the US will. Russia blows it up at the same time the Polish pipeline begins to operate to send a message. It also cause a big surge in gas prices from the psychological impact, another Russian benefit but I really thing the message is the more important aspect..

        Like

      • Fred (Au Natural) Says:

        Check this article out:

        https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/frequent-breaks-in-undersea-pipelines-mean-fixes-are-possible-for-nord-stream/

        Like

    • philebersole Says:

      Russia is not going to pay for repairing a pipeline that could easily be sabotaged a second time. The USA is not going to pay for repairing the pipeline because that would be the same as admitting guilt.

      That leaves Germany. Would Germany do it? Could Germany do it and still stay within the Western alliance? How firm is Germany’s commitment to the Western alliance after this?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Fred (Au Natural) Says:

        If the Germans want the gas, they’ll pay for it. If the Russians blew up the pipeline, they have no concern about it happening again.

        The pipeline can be repaired but it would require Russian cooperation. If you remember the reason Russia gave for turning Nordstream off was that sanctions prevented them from fixing an oil leak. Getting the Russian’s cooperation in getting the pipeline repaired would at least require some losening of sanctions.

        If Germany doesn’t want the gas, Russia loses nothing. If Germany wants the gas, they’ll pay for the repair and Russia gets some sanctions lifted. Russia cannot lose.

        Like

  3. fgsjr2015 Says:

    Doesn’t blasting its own pipeline — thus hindering the flow and sale of its own fuel to Western Europe, ergo cutting the cashflow it now needs more than ever for its military conquest in Ukraine — amount to Russia shooting itself in the foot?

    Really, how do they benefit? And, if Russia’s intention was to disrupt their fuel-flow to Europe, why not save themselves all that trouble and great cost by just shutting off the flow via the valve controls on its own territory?

    The U.S., on the other hand, does have motive; and its navy was in the area in June performing military exercises. Not to mention, President Joe Biden did state publicly earlier this year that the U.S. could, and would if Russia continued misbehaving, disrupt Russian fuel-flow to Europe and therefor much-needed funding for Russia’s war machine.

    Liked by 1 person

    • fgsjr2015 Says:

      To be clear: I’m no fan of Putin’s Russia (in fact, I wear a ribbon with the Ukraine-flag colors), but I must note that the mainstream news-media I’ve consumed has ignored this florescent elephant in the room [i.e. that it seems absurd that Russia would damage this pipeline].

      Like

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