Photo credit: World Economic Forum/Ciaran McCrickard

Government discussing pipeline security after Nord Stream attack

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said that the government is discussing security around undersea pipelines and cables in the wake of the Nord Stream pipeline attack.

The comments were made on Wednesday during a Dáil discussion regarding the North Sea Summit in Ostend, Belgium last month, where the Taoiseach met with various European prime ministers and leaders, including European Commission president Ursula Von Der Leyen.

While discussing the meeting, People Before Profit TD Paul Murphy asked if there was any discussion regarding the destruction of the Nord Stream pipeline last year – the culprit for which is still unknown.

“Was there any discussion at this summit about Nord Stream, in particular the blowing up or destruction of Nord Stream, which had such devastating impacts on people, with the increase in gas prices which was a consequence, and the largest single discharge of methane the world has ever seen, with significant environmental consequences?” Murphy asked.

“It seems that nobody is really interested in finding out who is responsible. There was a recent vote at the UN Security Council whereby the US and several of its allies abstained on a motion in order to block a resolution providing for an independent international investigation to find out who was responsible. Was that discussed at the summit? Does the Irish Government agree with the idea of an independent international investigation and will it support efforts to create one?”

Varadkar replied that there was “no discussions specifically” on the Nord Stream pipeline.

“However,” he said, “we obviously did have a discussion on the security of pipelines into the future and also undersea cables to make sure they are designed in such a way that they are not easy to tamper with.”

The Nord Stream pipeline was a natural gas pipeline project that connected Russia and Germany across the Baltic Sea. It consisted of two parallel pipelines that ran from Vyborg in Russia to Greifswald in Germany, with a total length of 1,222 kilometers. The pipeline was built and operated by the Russian state-owned gas company Gazprom, and it had the capacity to transport up to 55 billion cubic meters of gas per year.

The project was controversial, however, with critics raising concerns about its impact on European energy security and its potential to increase Russia’s influence over Europe. In particular, then-US President Donald Trump warned that Germany would become “totally dependent” on Russian energy due to the plan.

In the early days of the Ukraine war, Russia repeatedly used the pipeline to shut off and restrict gas to Europe in retaliation for Western sanctions. European leaders accused Russia of “weaponising” energy because of this.

However, the pipeline was sabotaged in September of 2022 by an unknown culprit, cutting off the supply altogether and resulting in an environmental disaster. The subject of who was responsible for the attack remains an issue of debate.



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