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Russia Plans To Mothball Sabotaged Nord Stream Pipelines

Russia is expected to mothball the Nord Stream natural gas pipelines damaged in the sabotage last autumn as there are no plans to either put them to use or repair them soon, Reuters reported on Friday, quoting sources with knowledge of the plan.

Russia plans to seal up the ruptured pipelines and mothball them as it doesn’t see relations with the West improving soon. This means the pipelines are unlikely to be needed and therefore won’t need to undergo repairs, the sources told Reuters.

The Nord Stream pipelines were sabotaged in late September in still unexplained circumstances. Nord Stream 1 was carrying gas from Russia to Germany via the Baltic Sea, while Nord Stream 2 was never put into operation after Germany axed the certification process following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Russia, for its part, shut down Nord Stream 1 indefinitely in early September, claiming an inability to repair gas turbines because of the Western sanctions.    

Earlier this year, Klaus-Dieter Maubach, the outgoing CEO at German energy giant Uniper, which was Russia’s top gas customer before Moscow cut off supply via Nord Stream, said that the pipeline could be repaired within a year, but it’s unclear whether Germany would want to receive Russian natural gas at all.

Various investigations into the Nord Stream explosions at the end of September continue amid accusations from Russia that some Western intelligence services are “hiding something.” 

Sweden’s refusal to share information about the sabotage of Nord Stream is “puzzling,” and withholding the results of the investigation means that “Swedish authorities are hiding something,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in January.

Last month, Russia called for an international investigation into the sabotage of Nord Stream after a U.S. investigative journalist wrote that the United States was behind the explosions of the gas pipelines.   

In early February, U.S. investigative journalist Seymour Hersh wrote in his blog, in a post titled “How America Took Out The Nord Stream Pipeline,” that the U.S. planted explosives on the bottom of the Baltic Sea to blow up the pipelines.

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By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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