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The Nord Stream 1 is a set of two offshore natural gas pipelines in Europe that runs underneath the Baltic Ocean from Vyborg compressor station at Portovaya Bay in Russia to Greifswald in Germany. The Nord Stream 1 is approximately 1200 Kilometers, and it is estimated to deliver a maximum of 170 million cubic meters of gas to Germany per day since its establishment in 2011 (Kumar & Chang, 2022). The pipeline was a project to increase gas imports in Europe (Whist, 2008). However, in October, an explosion occurred at the Nord Stream pipeline in the Baltic Sea near the German island of Lubmin and the Swedish town of Nynashamn (Thomas, 2022). The explosion has had significant political and economic consequences, with several versions of the attack linked to the West, Russia, and Ukraine due to the ongoing war.
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After the Nord Stream 1 explosion, the obvious question was what was the major cause of the explosion. Germany, Sweden, and Denmark began investigations into the explosion since Sweden and Denmark refer to the Baltic Ocean as their exclusive economic zone. At the same time, Germany is the first consumer of Nord Stream gas (Oltermann, 2022). However, after the investigations, Denmark and Sweden wrote to UN Security Council claiming that hundred-kilogram explosives were used to damage the pipeline (El-Bawab & Gretsky, 2022). At the same time, even though the pipeline originates from Russia, they are also believed to have played a role in the explosion of the pipeline. The NATO countries led by the United States firmly believe that Russian underwater drones caused the explosions. Therefore, the United States referred to the incident as an act linked to political and military damage.
On the other hand, Russian officials unsurprisingly blame the West and have convened a UN Security Council session to discuss the matter. Furthermore, due to the recent wars between Russia and Ukraine, the latter could be potentially involved in the pipeline’s destruction. Thus, there are many versions of who was behind the attack since Russia, the West, and Ukraine have all been linked to it.
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Political And Economic Effects of the Nord Stream Explosion
The Nord Stream 1 explosion led to more political indifferences than benefits. In response to the Nord stream explosion of October 2022, Putin called an emergency meeting with members of his security council who are also involved in managing European gas imports. He quickly concluded that although he could not prove who was responsible for the attack, it was most likely a terrorist group seeking retaliation against Russia for military involvement in Syria. These groups had used such tactics before, so Putin was not surprised. But this time, there was a substantial difference—they seemed intent on destroying Europe’s ability to import gas from Russia. From all appearances, they were trying to cripple the continent’s economy by depriving it of fuel for power generation and transportation (Majkut et al., 2022). The president of the European Commission also claimed that any deliberate attack on Europe’s energy infrastructure would lead to the strongest possible response (Majkut et al., 2022). Therefore, dire political indifferences are expected from Russia and the European Commission once investigations have identified who was behind the attack.
It is unclear who was behind the North Stream 1 explosion, but the attack has dramatically affected Russia’s and Europe’s economies. Russia has been hurt by European sanctions in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea, which also saw a decrease in oil production (Majkut et al., 2022). With this new event, there is a question as to whether Russia will retaliate with more economic sanctions. The economic effects for Europe are also unclear because it is unclear what the long-term impacts will be from this incident. There have been calls to increase energy efficiency, especially among Eastern European countries that rely heavily on Russian natural gas. There have also been proposals for investing in renewable sources such as solar and wind power or using LNG (liquefied natural gas) instead of pipeline-delivered natural gas supplies (Majkut et al., 2022). But these ideas are not without their risks. Building out these new infrastructure projects will take time and investment capital while also facing opposition from groups concerned about the environmental impact of these projects. It is also likely that the decrease in oil production could lead to a spike in prices if other suppliers do not step up to meet demand. However, this would only work if Russia did not retaliate with further price manipulation through its control of natural gas exports. Therefore, the explosion already has serious economic impacts, and much more consequences are expected.
When it comes to the Nord Stream 1 explosion, it is unclear who attacked it in October 2022, but it had severe political and economic effects. The damage to the pipeline led to a gas shortage in Europe, which was exacerbated by Russia’s decision not to export gas through Ukrainian territory. This has led to a series of events that culminated in what became known as the coldest winter since records began. In addition, massive energy shortages forced governments and businesses to cut their electricity use and rely on backup generators drastically. All in all, there have been dramatic impacts on the economy due to their reliance on Russian natural gas exports.
- El-Bawab, N., & Gretsky, W. (2022, October 18). Nord Stream pipeline leaks caused by ‘powerful explosions,’ Danish police say. ABC News. https://abcnews.go.com/International/nord-stream-pipeline-leaks-caused-powerful-explosions-danish/story?id=91683432
- Kumar, K. A., & Chang, C. A. (2022, March 26). The Politics of Nord Stream Pipeline between Russia and European Union. Diplomatist. https://diplomatist.com/2022/03/26/the-politics-of-nord-stream-pipeline-between-russia-and-european-union/
- Majkut, J., Palti-Guzman, L., Bergmann, M., & Wall, C. (2022). Security implications of Nord Stream sabotage. CSIS. https://www.csis.org/analysis/security-implications-nord-stream-sabotage
- Oltermann, P. (2022, October 18). Nord Stream 1: First underwater images reveal devastating damage. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2022/oct/18/nord-stream-1-first-underwater-images-reveal-devastating-damage
- Thomas, M. (2022, October 18). Nord Stream blast ‘blew away 50 meters of pipe’. BBC News. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-63297085
- Whist, B, S. (2008). Nord Stream: Not Just a Pipeline. An Analysis of the Political Debates in the Baltic Sea Region Regarding the Planned Gas Pipeline from Russia to Germany. FridtJof Nansen Institute. https://www.fni.no/publications/nord-stream-not-just-a-pipeline-an-analysis-of-the-political-debates-in-the-baltic-sea-region-regarding-the-planned-gas-pipeline-from-russia-to-germany-article797-290.html