BRUSSELS — The European Union suspects that damage to two underwater natural gas pipelines it was sabotage and it warns of retaliation for any attack on Europe’s power grids, a senior official said on Wednesday, as power companies began tightening security.
The episode underscored the vulnerability of Europe’s energy infrastructure and further heightened tensions on the continent that has been rocked by You were in the Ukraine for seven months.. Poland and some experts said Russia was likely to blame and could benefit from further market instability.
Seismologists reported that explosions rocked the Baltic Sea before unusual leaks were discovered Tuesday in two underwater natural gas pipelines running from Russia to Germany. The incidents come as the EU struggles to control rising gas and electricity prices.
“All available information indicates that these leaks are the result of a deliberate act,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in a statement on behalf of the 27-member bloc. “Any deliberate disruption of Europe’s energy infrastructure is absolutely unacceptable and will be met with a strong and united response.”
Some European leaders and experts pointed to possible sabotage given the energy confrontation with Russia. The three leaks were reported from the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines, which were filled with natural gas but were not delivering the fuel to Europe.
It added that the calculation was based on information from operators Nord Stream AG and Nord Stream 2 AG on the natural gas content in the three leaking pipelines.
Some European officials and energy experts have said Russia is likely to blame, as it benefits directly from higher energy prices and economic anxiety across Europe. But others warned against pointing fingers until investigators can determine what happened.
“As long as there is gas, it’s dangerous to be there,” Böttzauw said, declining to say when experts would be able to go down and see the pipes, which he said were made of 5-inch-thick steel encased in concrete. They are found on the seafloor from 230 to 295 feet deep.
All the leaks were in international waters. Two are within the Danish exclusive economic zone, while the third is in the Swedish equivalent.