High methane levels in Scandinavia after Nord Stream leaks

The ecological consequences are already disastrous. If any of the four leaks on the Nord Stream gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea begin to weaken, according to Swedish authorities, high levels of methane are observed in several regions of Scandinavia. Located above Nord Stream 2 on the Swedish side, this leak “has reduced in size, but is still ongoing,” the Swedish coastguard said in a statement on Friday morning. “The magnitude of the explosions was measured at 2.3 and 2.1 respectively on the Richter scale, probably equivalent to an explosive charge of hundreds of kilograms,” an official report from Sweden said on Friday and of Denmark handed over to the United Nations.

Most likely the result of an act of sabotage according to several countries, the leaks are all located in international waters off the Danish island of Bornholm. But two of them are located in the Swedish exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and the other two in the Danish EEZ. The second leak on the Swedish side, more important and linked to Nord Stream 1, shows no signs of abating, according to the coast guard.

More than half of the gas passed

Copenhagen had estimated on Wednesday that more than half of the gas contained in the two gas pipelines – not operational but loaded with methane – had already leaked and that the rest would escape by Sunday.

According to a simulation released on Friday by the independent Norwegian institute Nilu, which specializes in air analysis, the methane cloud has moved with the winds over several Swedish and Norwegian regions since Monday, even reaching the UK.

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According to his estimates, nearly 80,000 tons of methane have already escaped from the damaged pipes of the two gas pipelines. That is more than four times the annual emissions of the oil and gas sector in Norway, one of the main producers of hydrocarbons in Europe. Methane emissions are not dangerous to human health, according to authorities, but contribute to global warming.

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