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U.S., Allies Prepare for Gas Standoff

The U.S. and Europe are increasingly certain that Russian sabotage caused the explosions that resulted in massive leaks from pipelines carrying natural gas to Germany earlier this week.

  • Now the allies are trying to determine whether the Nord Stream I and Nord Stream II blasts were meant to be “a new warning from Moscow about the continent’s energy supplies heading into winter,” according to POLITICO (subscription).

What’s happening: Following three separate pipeline explosions Monday under the Baltic Sea near Denmark and Sweden, the Council of the European Union pledged a “robust and united response” to the explosions.

Accident unlikely: “An unnoticed, conspiratorial damage to pipelines at a depth of 80 meters in the Baltic Sea requires sophisticated technical and organizational capabilities that clearly point to a state actor,” a former German Federal Intelligence Service president told a German news outlet, according to POLITICO.

  • Russia’s involvement in the pipeline attacks is “unequivocal,” a former State Department energy program head said. The message: “‘Prepare for a life without Russian gas. … It’s a threat of a complete cutoff.’”

U.S. helping Europe: “U.S. energy companies are shipping liquefied natural gas to Europe as part of an effort to make up for supply disruptions caused by Russia’s war on Ukraine.”

  • On Tuesday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, “We’re working to continue to surge LNG supplies to Europe. . . .”

Meanwhile, a four-month-old transit-fee disagreement between Ukrainian gas company Naftogaz and Russia’s Gazprom continues, jeopardizing one of the only other continued gas flows to Europe, also according to POLITICO.

  • “If deliveries across Ukraine end, that would leave the only Russian gas flowing into the EU coming via a branch of the TurkStream pipeline landing in Bulgaria and then heading to Hungary, Greece and the Balkans.”
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