(Bloomberg) -- European governments and companies moved to bolster security around their energy assets after the Nord Stream blasts, as the German Navy was deployed to investigate the suspected sabotage. 

European nations and LNG carriers heading for the region must be on high alert in the wake of the “apparent sabotage,” US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said. 

The situation in the Baltic Sea between Russia and NATO remains “tense,” said Danish Defense Minister Morten Bodskov, who expects Moscow’s forces in the region to continue their “saber-rattling.” The blasts, which European leaders said were sabotage, coincided with the opening of a new pipeline taking Norwegian gas to Poland.

Gas prices jumped on supply concerns, after Gazprom PJSC warned late Tuesday that flows via Ukraine are also at risk. 

Key Developments:

  • EU announces new sanctions proposal after Russia annexation move
  • Norwegian companies strengthen security
  • Nord Stream leaks could be ‘unprecedented’ climate disaster
  • EU, Denmark, Sweden say Nord Stream leaks caused deliberately
  • German navy deployed to investigate
  • NATO addressing security on critical infrastructure
  • Kremlin dismisses accusations Russian was to blame for damage
  • Ukraine gas flows are at risk, says Gazprom
  • Gas prices rise
  • EU considers ban on shipping Russian oil as part of price cap

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(All times are UK.)

Denmark Sees Nord Stream Pipes Empty by Sunday (5 p.m.)

Denmark expects all the remaining gas to have left the ruptured Nord Stream pipelines on Sunday after “far more than half” has already escaped into the Baltic Sea. 

The methane emissions will be equal to about 32% of Denmark’s annual greenhouse-gas discharges, Kristoffer Bottzauw, head of the Danish Energy Agency, said in a briefing on Wednesday in Copenhagen.

Germany Preparing for Months for Threats (3:30 p.m.)

German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said the government in Berlin has for months been preparing to counter threats to the country’s energy infrastructure and called for the “alleged acts of sabotage” on the Nord Stream pipelines to be cleared up “quickly and comprehensively.”

“We have to prepare for scenarios that were unthinkable until recently,” Faeser said in an emailed statement. “Federal and state security authorities are very vigilant and always act in accordance with the current situation,” she said, adding that police are constantly on patrol in the North and Baltic Seas.

Norway Boosts Defense of Oil and Gas Industry (3:25 p.m.)

Norway’s prime minister said that while there’s no indication of a threat, defense forces will be “more visible” around oil and gas facilities after the suspected Nord Stream sabotage.

There has been “abnormally high” drone activity near oil and gas installations on the Norwegian continental shelf, Jonas Gahr Store told reporters in Oslo. The government has designated oil extraction and pipeline gas transport to Europe as “fundamental national functions” to allow more measures to protect the industries, the prime minister said.

US Urges High Alert After Pipeline Sabotage (2:35 p.m.)

Everybody should be on high alert and nations must build their energy security in the wake of the “apparent sabotage” of the Nord Stream pipelines, US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said in an interview. That includes a heightened alert for LNG carriers on their way to Europe.

The US hopes its European allies will undertake an “expedited investigation” and identify who was responsible for the pipeline attacks, Granholm said. Vladimir Putin’s move to weaponize gas underscores the urgency with which all nations have to “evaluate the risks of relying on another entity for their energy,” she said.

German Infrastructure Faces Security Threat (1 p.m.)

German energy infrastructure faces a general security threat, according to a spokesman for the Interior Ministry.

There is no indication that the Nord Stream leaks were the result of a natural phenomenon, a government spokesman said, adding that the pipelines will have to be empty before the cause can be investigated.

Naftogaz Says Gazprom Has Paid Oct. Transit (12:30 p.m.)

Ukrainian energy company Naftogaz said Gazprom has paid transit fees for October already.

That may ease some concerns about an immediate cut to flows to Europe via Ukraine. Gazprom said late Tuesday that there’s a risk Russia will sanction Naftogaz in retaliation for a legal dispute, and if that happens Gazprom won’t be able to pay Ukraine’s transit fees. 

Equinor, Var Energi Tighten Security (12 p.m.)

Equinor ASA and Var Energi ASA are tightening security at their facilities in Norway.

“Var Energi has operated with an increased level of security since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February and is now introducing even more measures on the basis of the incident in the Baltic Sea,” spokesman Andreas Wulff said in an email.

Gassco, whose network of pipes supplies Norwegian gas to continental Europe, said it has also boosted both cyber and physical security measures.

Ministers to Discuss Nord Stream on Friday (12 p.m)

Energy ministers will discuss the pipeline damage when they meet on Friday in Brussels, according to EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders. 

“Before the summer, the council and the commission reached an agreement on security measures for infrastructure which are being implemented,” he said. “And it may be that we need to go even further to secure infrastructure in the light of the recent events.”

German Navy Deployed in Pipeline Probe (11:15 a.m.)

Germany has deployed naval vessels to help in the investigation into the pipeline breaches, the defense ministry said, adding that the “alleged act of sabotage” highlights the vulnerability of critical infrastructure.

“The circumstances of this disturbing event must now be quickly clarified and those responsible identified,” Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht said. “I have already exchanged views on this with my Danish counterpart,” she added. “We have agreed to share information and our navy will contribute its expertise to the investigation.”

Kremlin Dismisses Blame For Sabotage (10:48 a.m.)

Western accusations that Russia sabotaged the Nord Stream pipeline system are “stupid” and “absurd,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

The results of an investigation are needed to show the nature of the damage, Peskov said, pointing to the benefit for the US from the Nord Stream pipelines being halted. 

Russia has been taking steps in recent weeks to cut off gas supplies to Europe, including shutting down Nord Stream for maintenance on turbines that the manufacturer said wasn’t necessary.

Equinor Raises Vigilance on Energy Assets (10:35 a.m.)

Equinor decided to raise the level of preparedness last night for all its energy-related facilities in Norway, national broadcaster NRK reported. 

The decision covers offices, installations, supply locations, helicopter bases, land facilities and vessels. A separate contingency team consisting of local management and stewards has been established for the Kollsnes gas processing plant, the broadcaster said.

Explosions Equivalent to 100 kg of TNT (10:07 a.m.)

In Sweden, seismologists said the bigger of the two explosions detected in the area of the Nord Stream gas leak on Monday corresponded to a blast of about 100 kilograms of TNT.

The calculation is based on a comparison with other detonations, for example naval mines where the size of the charge is known. But this is “very much an estimate as it depends on local conditions,” Peter Schmidt of the Swedish National Seismic Network said in an interview.

On Wednesday, the Swedish Prosecution Authority confirmed that the police has opened a case into the Nord Stream incident but would not provide further comment.

‘Unprecedented’ Climate Disaster (10:03 a.m.)

Scientists are scrambling to work out just how much methane, one of the most powerful greenhouse gases, has escaped into the atmosphere. The fear is that it could be one of the worst releases ever.

Many so-called super-emitting events -- large continuous discharges of methane -- are captured by satellite imagery over land-based pipelines or fossil-fuel production sites. But capturing accurate data over water, is far more challenging given the light that reflects of the surface.

Pipeline Probe Won’t Start for at Least a Week (9:55 a.m.)

It may take as long as two weeks before an investigation of the Nord Stream leaks can begin, Danish Defense Minister Morten Bodskov told local media.

“It can take a week or 14 days before the pressure in the pipelines has fallen enough for there to be enough calm to see anything,” he said.

NATO Chief Looking at Protecting Infrastructure (9:20 a.m.)

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg discussed the sabotage on the Nord Stream pipelines with the Danish Defence Minister addressing the need to protect critical infrastructure.

15 EU Countries Back Price Cap on Gas (8:40 a.m.)

A cap on the price of natural gas should be applied to all transactions, and not limited to imports from specific jurisdictions, 15 EU Energy Ministers said in a letter to the European Commission. The cap is a priority and can be combined with proposals to strengthen the financial oversight of the gas market and develop alternative benchmarks for gas pricing in Europe, energy ministers of Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, France, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain said in the letter.

The European Union’s executive arm plans to discuss the feasibility of imposing a price cap on gas in a document to be presented to member states Wednesday.

Ukraine to Press Ahead With Arbitration (8:10 a.m.) 

Ukraine’s NJSC Naftogaz Ukrainy intends to continue with arbitration against Gazprom PJSC, its chief executive officer said on Twitter. The legal dispute could lead to Russia sanctioning the country and cutting supplies of gas.

Gas Prices Jump (7:23 a.m.)

Natural gas prices in Europe jumped 11%, after Russia’s Gazprom warned supplies via Ukraine are at risk if the country pursues a dispute over transit payments. The warning came after leaks were reported on Nord Stream pipelines to Germany, which authorities suspect are caused by sabotage. 

Sweden Calls Foul Play (7:15 a.m.)

Sweden’s government maintained its stance that the leaks were a result of foul play on Wednesday. “We can say that it likely is sabotage,” Foreign Minister Ann Linde told state broadcaster SVT.

EU Warns of Strong Response (9:20 p.m. Tuesday)

President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen warned that Europe will carry out “the strongest possible response” if the damage on the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines proves to be deliberate. She said any deliberate damage to Europe’s energy infrastructure is “unacceptable.”

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