Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline hit by ‘leaks’ in Swedish and Danish zones

Two leaks have been identified on the Nord Stream 1 Russia-to-Europe gas pipeline in the Baltic Sea, hours after a similar incident on its twin pipeline, Scandinavian authorities said on Tuesday.

Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline hit by 'leaks' in Swedish and Danish zones
Nord stream 1 pipeline facility in Lubmin, northeastern Germany. Leaks in the pipeline were reported in Danish and Swedish Baltic Sea zones on September 27th. File Photo: ODD ANDERSEN / AFP

“Authorities have now been informed that there have been another two leaks on Nord Stream 1, which likewise is not in operation but contains gas,” the Danish climate and energy minister Dan Jørgensen told news wire AFP in a statement.

Following the leaks, Jørgensen said the authorities called for “higher levels of preparedness in the electricity and gas sector” in the country.

One of the leaks on the Nord Stream 1 pipeline occurred in the Danish economic zone and the other in the Swedish economic zone.

Like the leak on Nord Stream 2 the day before, the incidents are “subject to safety measures”.

The Nord Stream 1 leaks were first spotted Monday evening, an hour after a drop in pressure was reported in Nord Stream 2, according to the Swedish Maritime Administration (SMA).

“Around 8pm we received a report from a passing ship saying they saw something on their radar a little further north of the island of Bornholm,” Fredrik Stromback, spokesman for the SMA, told AFP.

As a result of the leaks, navigational warnings have also been issued for a distance of five nautical miles and a flight height of 1,000 metres.

“The incidents on the two pipelines have no impact on the supply to Denmark,” Jørgensen said.

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Sweden’s energy subsidy approved – but payout delayed

Sweden's Energy Markets Inspectorate (Ei) has approved the government's energy subsidy for users in southern Sweden with one addition - there will be a cap for extremely high users, which could delay payout of the subsidy.

Sweden's energy subsidy approved - but payout delayed

The government has said that the subsidy, which will go to around 5 million customers in southern and central Sweden (energy zones 3 and 4), could be paid out in the beginning of next year.

However, the decision to implement a cap for high-energy users could delay the payout, Malin Stridh, head of the energy market department at the Swedish National Grid, told TT newswire.

“This cap will mean delays in when we can pay out the subsidy,” she said. “The model Ei has now decided to approve is a model we’ve previously considered and rejected, precisely because it was important to get the energy subsidy out soon.”

“We’ve had a dialogue with Ei during this process but this has still come as a surprise.”

The subsidy will be paid out as a lump sum to individual customers – including households, companies, authorities, housing associations and organisations.

Specifically, the subsidy will go to whoever is listed on the energy network contract – the elnätsavtal – on November 18th.

Ei’s addition to the Swedish National Grid’s proposed model is due to EU rules regulating how so-called bottleneck fees can be used or repaid. In total, there are 55.6 billion kronor in fees available for repayment to consumers in the two energy zones affected.

“We’ve approved the Swedish National Grid’s model almost completely,” Elin Broström, head of Ei’s market monitoring department, told TT.

“However, those users who are at the absolute top end of the scale will need to apply to receive the subsidy above a certain level. We’re introducing a form of cap,” she added.

The cap will effect customers with a usage of over 3 million kilowatt hours – a usage far higher than that of individual households.

This means that customers in energy zone 4 can receive up to 2.37 million kronor without having to apply for special consideration, with users in energy zone 3 receiving a maximum of 1.5 million kronor before reaching this cap.

If a company, municipality or other large-scale energy consumer calculates that they are entitled to an amount higher than this based on its usage, it must be able to prove that its true energy costs were higher than this limit.

According to Ei, there are around 1,700 users affected by this cap.

“If we hadn’t introduced this cap, [they would have received] significantly higher amounts,” Broström said.

With the introduction of this cap, it is likely that only around two thirds of the 55.6 million kronor available will be used. Ei expects that roughly 16-18 million kronor could be left over.