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NORD STREAM

Gas still leaking from Nord Stream 2: Swedish Coast Guard

Sweden's coast guard said on Monday it could no longer see any leaks from the Nord Stream 1 pipeline in the Baltic Sea, but a smaller leak from Nord Stream 2 was still visible.

Gas still leaking from Nord Stream 2: Swedish Coast Guard
One of the Swedish Coast Guard's planes. Photo: Swedish Coast Guard

“The larger leak is now no longer visible on the surface while the smaller one instead has increased slightly,” the coast guard said in a statement.

The observations were made during an overflight on Monday at around 8am of the two pipelines suspected to have been damaged in an act of sabotage, it added.

“At that time, the smaller leak was approximately 30 metres in diameter,” the coast guard said.

A spokesman for the operator of the Nord Stream pipelines, Nord Stream AG, said on Saturday that the leaking from the Nord Stream 2 pipeline had stopped because an equilibrium had been reached between the gas and water pressure.

Gazprom, which owns 51 percent of the pipeline project, said Monday “it was working to lower the pressure in the B line of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline” by pumping out the natural gas of the pipe, so that the pipeline could be examined safely.

Both Nord Stream 1 and 2 are made up of two lines and both leaks on Nord Stream 2 were on the A line.

The Russian energy giant added that it did not rule out the possibility that the Nord Stream 2 B pipeline could still be used to deliver gas.

“If the decision is taken to start deliveries via the Nord Stream 2 B-line, natural gas will be pumped into the pipeline after the integrity of the system has been checked and the supervisory authorities have confirmed such a possibility,” Gazprom said in a statement on its Telegram channel.

Built in parallel to the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, Nord Stream 2 was intended to double the capacity for Russian gas imports to Germany. But Berlin blocked the opening of the newly-completed Nord Stream 2 in the days before the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

All of the leaks, which were discovered on Monday last week, are in the Baltic Sea off the Danish island of Bornholm. Both Washington and Moscow have denied responsibility.

Danish authorities had estimated that all the gas trapped in the pipelines would have escaped by Sunday. Two of the leaks are located in the Swedish exclusive economic zone, and the two others in the Danish one.

The Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines, which connect Russia to Germany, have been at the centre of geopolitical tensions as Russia cut gas supplies to Europe in suspected retaliation against Western sanctions following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

While the pipelines are not currently in operation, they both still contained gas before they fell victim to apparent sabotage.

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BREAKING

Sweden’s electricity price subsidy now postponed until February

Households and businesses will not receive any compensation for high power prices over the last year until February at the earliest, Swedish government ministers confirmed at a press conference on Wednesday.

Sweden's electricity price subsidy now postponed until February

During the election campaign, the Moderate, Christian Democrat, and Liberal parties made a common election promise to have a system of compensation “in place” by November 1st. 

“If we win the election and Sweden receives a new government, we are are going to make sure that high-cost protection against the current extreme electricity prices for households and businesses will be in place by November 1st,” they wrote. “Household finances will be rescued in good time for Christmas. That is a common election promise.” 

But at a press conference on Wednesday morning, social insurance minister Anna Tenje said that payments would not begin until well into 2023. 

“The payments will begin in February if nothing unexpected happens,” she said. 

For businesses, the wait could be even longer. 

“The first step will be payments to households. The second stage will be payments to businesses, and that question is still being decided,” energy and business minister Ebba Busch said. 

At a press conference, Magdalena Andersson, leader of the opposition Social Democrats accused Sweden’s prime minister of “lying to the Swedish people right in the face”. 

“When it comes to high cost protection for electricity, he was very clear ahead of the election that it would be in place on November 1st,” she said. “He couldn’t explain how, but it was a clear promise to the people of Sweden and that has now been broken. It’s not as if anything has happened to explain why he couldn’t live up to the promise.” 

“Don’t make lofty promises that aren’t trustworthy. That’s what I said during the election campaign.” she added.

The Social Democrats’ energy spokesperson, Fredrik Olovsson, said that the government should give a new instruction to the country’s grid operator Svenska Kraftnät, so that even people in northern Sweden could receive the subsidy. 

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