Russian maintenance and NordStream pipelines

No, I don’t know this happened. From PJF in comments.

I don’t even have enough to know that this could have happened – just don’t know enough about engineering.

But if this is possible, methane hydrates in a shut down gas pipeline, unless you’re really careful with the maintenance. Then yes, having lived over there for a number of years, yep, sure, maintenance could well be bad enough to make this happen.

It does in fact explain all about what happened too.

54 thoughts on “Russian maintenance and NordStream pipelines”

  1. Umm:
    a) Swedes & Norwegians have cconfirmed they detected “In’Water” explosions.
    b) 4 exposions simultaneously- really.
    c) NS 2 was new,

  2. A mate of mine programs the robots that inspect pipelines in the North Sea. He said that a common problem were big fishes, lobsters and the like burrowing under the pipes to make their nests. Eventually the pipe breaks because there is no more seabed to support them.

    My money is on a specially bred and trained giant squid

  3. @ Nessimmersion

    a) Pipelines exploding underwater = in water explosions. (and Norwegians?)

    b) 17 hours apart is not simultaneously.

    c) Newness is irrelevant to this scenario.

    Not that I’m emotionally attached to the ideas in the article. I ran it past my brother (career in frontline oil and gas exploration science and engineering) and he thought it at least as feasible as all the sabotage stories.

    Presumably there’ll be some underwater cameras taking a look soon, and they should be able to see a difference between internal and external explosions.

  4. Since everyone knows about hydrates wouldn’t you design your line to avoid them? The last time I had to do with hydrate formation we just washed them away with methanol.

    Still, Russia. How many hydrate problems leading to explosions has Russia had over the last decade?

    My money is on an initiative by the USA using God knows whom as the hitmen.

    The statement by DOTUS that I’ve seen is not actually a denial.

  5. It’s a novel theory, but obviously nonsense.

    It depends on you believing a series of very unlikely things: that the world’s second largest hydrocarbons exporter doesn’t know how pipelines work, that the incredibly suspicious timing is just an amazing coincidence, and that the people who have means, motive, opportunity to destroy the pipes and repeatedly publicly threatened to do so are innocent bystanders.

    It’s like the US’s fraudulent election of 2020: everybody knows they did it, but they do seem to take a kind of demonic pleasure in lying, and getting other people to repeat their lies. They are an Empire of Lies, if you will.

  6. I think that someone might have thought sabotage was a good idea. Tactically you might defend the scheme. Strategically it’s a disaster. If Russia, then goodbye both pipes and pay transit fees to your enemy. If USA, Poland or any NATO member then the diplomatic fallout would be terminally toxic.
    So I’m encouraged to consider cock up rather than conspiracy.

  7. Steve,

    This is a Great Power that managed to blow up a nuclear reactor that was in good working order apart, because Rules and Need To Please The Boss.

    This is a Great Power who managed to get one of their biggest, most prestigious naval units sunk in the Black Sea because either (a) she was so broken and banjaxed she never saw a couple of basic ASCMs coming, and burned out and was abandoned, (b) she was so broken and banjaxed that a rating dropping a lit cigarette caused a fire so serious that she was burned out and abandoned.

    This is a Great Power who had one of their premier, top-end submarines blow itself up during a Fleet exercise because they stuck with hydrogen peroxide as a torpedo fuel when “the rest of the world” had realised this tends to blow up boats; then insist that nothing had happened, then that something had happened but they could handle the rescue, and by the time they admitted they needed foreign help and the LR5 got into the Kursk those who’d survived the initial blast were dead. (I was bidding on the replacement NATO Submarine Rescue System at the time – talk about a demonstration of why getting your engineering right, matters…)

    Suggesting that Russia is able to manage its affairs effectively, and that corruption and incompetence are not widespread… doesn’t pass the giggle test.

    An accidental explosion in one pipeline, followed by “fix it! Do what I say! Moscow wants it sorted Right Now!” causing a failure in the other… is as plausible as any other theory advanced to date, and does take care of the inconvenient issue of trying to do covert ops in one of the more observed parts of the Baltic.

  8. Jason – Suggesting that Russia is able to manage its affairs effectively, and that corruption and incompetence are not widespread… doesn’t pass the giggle test.

    I think they may have mastered the complex technology involved in plumbing tho.

    It’s not often you hear about pipelines spontaneously combusting, even in Nigeria. The whole thing relies on absurd leaps of Skinnerian sillylogic while the obvious culprit is staring us in the face (drooling)

    Skinner: [yawns] Well, that was wonderful. A good time was had by all. I’m pooped

    Chalmers: Yes, I should be–good lord, what is happening in there?!

    Skinner: Aurora Borealis?

    Chalmers: Ah- Aurora Borealis!? At this time of year, at this time of day, in this part of the country, localized entirely within your kitchen!?

    Skinner: Yes.

    Chalmers: …May I see it?

    Skinner: …No.

    But, and I don’t mean to go all semibiotics here, what does it mean?

    We, the collective West, just bombed Europe’s energy base. This suggests two things:

    * Europe is now fully locked in to some kind of economic depression for the years it takes to replace Russian fuels at affordable prices.
    * Peaceful cooperation with Russia is now impossible, at least for the foreseeable.

    The latter bit is more worrisome. If we’ve decided deliberate state-sponsored sabotage of peaceful civilian infrastructure is the way to go, Russia is in big trouble and so are we.

    But I also think it symbolises a new Iron Curtain. We’re strategically cutting contact with the East (the new belligerence towards China, and more importantly the new chips war to repatriate American technical leadership from Asia – but that’s too wordy – are art and part the struggle with Russia.)

    Maybe we’re already in the early days of WW3 over the future of globalisation itself. It might not be long before Apple’s genetically engineered iStormtroopers are trading bullets with the Huawei Light Infantry in the post-apocalypso ironic wasteland of Cupertino. Now that’s Thinking Different™

  9. It depends on you believing a series of very unlikely things: that the world’s second largest hydrocarbons exporter doesn’t know how pipelines work . . .

    Fire ‘localised’ on Siberian river after pipeline accident
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-russia-accident-idUSKBN2AY0LO

    Just last year. That the Russians know how to do things doesn’t mean they’ll do them.

    .
    . . . that the incredibly suspicious timing is just an amazing coincidence . . .

    The general timing is entirely consistent with an industrial accident, since now is the time the actions that would have caused the event (getting the pipes cleared for operation) would be happening. The only amazing coincidence is the grand opening of the Norway-Poland pipeline – but I don’t see that points to the US.

    .
    . . . to destroy the pipes and repeatedly publicly threatened to do so . . .

    Can you show where the US has threatened to “destroy the pipes”? Sure, Biden has threatened to “end” Nordstream2, but that’s part of a longstanding diplomatic / sanctions effort started under Trump, who was materialising his warnings to Germany about Russian dependency. Biden actually waived the sanctions to allow the pipeline to be physically completed and connected.

    The only factor in favour of a sabotage explanation is the clustered nature of events that at first glance seems unlikely: multiple bangs and leaks occurring within a 24 hour period. But if there’s a clusterfuck explanation for the clustering then the sabotage angle looks quite unlikely. And all the rationalisations for sabotage, from each side of our tinfoil curtain, are completely ridiculous.

  10. I was a bureaucrat so I naturally incline to the incompetence rather than the conspiracy theory. But the real truth is I’m buggered if I know what it was.

    I do hope there’ll be some investigation, to try and determine what actually happened.

  11. It’s not often you hear about pipelines spontaneously combusting . . .

    Combustion (oxidation) is not suggested. The two explosion explanations offered were a pipe rupture caused by a fast moving heavy plug of solid hydrate (followed by rapid depressurisation), and a rapid hydrate sublimation / pressurisation (followed by rapid depressurisation).

    I’ve provided you with an actual recent all-Russian combustion event on some “plumbing”, though I suspect you’ll nervously laugh it away.

    We, the collective West, just bombed Europe’s energy base.

    Which is completely mad – which is why you should be looking for a rational explanation.

  12. Steve, not to rain on your parade, but…
    The chain of occurrences as set out, not too subtly, in that blog post is Plausible.
    All too plausible…

    Certainly plausible enough to put on the stack of possible causes as a top 3 contender.

    And frankly, just speaking for myself, I much prefer this scenario to be true, given the other possibilities…
    I can …live with… Bureaucratic Incompetence and classic Pass-The-Buck-ism.
    Much egg-on-face for Russia, but then again that country is hardly unique in that attitude, and you can see examples of such in the newspapers weekly.

    But vastly preferrable to “affirmative action” from either side of the current powder keg, or even a Third Party.
    I prefer my mushrooms in the pan with a touch of garlic, tyvm….

  13. Bloke in North Dorset

    I think they may have mastered the complex technology involved in plumbing tho.

    In the same way they mastered building advanced weapons and a military machine capable of rolling over Kiev in 3 days.

  14. Ukraine would certainly benefit as it reduces Russian leverage and apparently they were given some underwater drones as part of a weapons package. Also read somewhere that it would allow Russia to route around Ukraine thereby reducing its transit fees which I’m sure is a tidy sum (maybe Hunter could do an interview on that, him being an expert in that area)

    The EU and US maybe ok with a negotiated settlement at some point, but getting the Ukrainians to play ball is going to be harder.

    Easy to start a war, a lot harder to end one

  15. Grikath – And frankly, just speaking for myself, I much prefer this scenario to be true, given the other possibilities…

    Me too, I just don’t believe it.

    BiND – In the same way they mastered building advanced weapons and a military machine capable of rolling over Kiev in 3 days.

    Whatchagonnado? Russians, man. They thought they could do this war on the cheap for 6 months, and to be fair it worked for 6 months. Now they’re doing “partial mobilisation”.

    They could flatten Kiev any time they wanted, but occupying it seems like a bad idea and I doubt Russia is interested in fighting an Iraq style occupation war. Which raises the question, how do we get back to peace from here?

    Assuming Russia isn’t going to militarily conquer Western Ukraine (300,000 isn’t enough) and the Ukies can’t reclaim their breakaway provinces, Ukraine is going to be a big flaming boil on the side of an economically devastated Europe.

    Rationally, the solution is to let the breakaways go, sue for peace, fix new borders in a neutral Ukraine and get back to affordable energy (while building the next generation of atomic reactors post haste). But we’re not behaving rationally, rationality has been in short supply this decade.

  16. PJF – I was trying to understand why you want to believe industrial accident when both sides have already said they believe it’s sabotage. I think this is the reason:

    Which is completely mad – which is why you should be looking for a rational explanation.

    Yes, it’s mental. The implications are horrifying.

    It would be more comforting if it were not so, but yes, they really are that evil. We’re in Cuckoo Bananas Crazy Times, when anything can happen and probably will. Hadn’t you noticed?

  17. . . . when both sides have already said they believe it’s sabotage.

    Saying they believe it and believing it are separate things. More precisely, both sides are accusing the other of sabotage. But there is a curious lack of outrage and fury, especially from the Russian side, which is odd if they really believe the US just destroyed one of their most important strategic investments.

    . . . but yes, they really are that evil.

    It’s clear you are thoroughly attached to that notion, and it’s clear (if not to you) that it’s seriously clouding your judgement. I suspect this is your religious inclination interfering with your brain. Apocalypticism is a known condition.

  18. I do like your rational solution Steve. Of course one could argue that we’re tossing the Ukrainians to the wolves with our wicked appeasement. But since we’ve been chucking our perfectly innocent friends to the thugs, gangsters, terrorists and murderers since the collapse of the empire, it seems a bit pointless to balk now.

    I’ll concede that our American correspondents may be a trifle peeved at my description of their Founding Fathers!!

    I’d really love dumping net zero, burning all the coal we can grab, fracking everything in sight or hearing, and building all the nukes NOW!! But it’s not going to happen.

    This is actually South Africa in 1856 or Sri Lanka in 2021 and we’re all going to starve because of our stupidity.

  19. Rationally, the solution is to let the breakaways go, sue for peace, fix new borders in a neutral Ukraine and get back to affordable energy . . .

    Your “rational solution” is to reward Russia with its immediate war aims and keep being reliant on their energy supply. It is sort of bizarrely sweet that you regard the almost universal opposition to this “solution” as a widespread madness. There’s something “Greenham Common peace woman” about you. Like them, you know your notions have no chance of being tested against reality so its easy to espouse them and feel virtuous sniping from the sidelines.

    Your idea seems to be based on a couple of very flawed assumptions. The first being that Russia is actually capable of achieving its war aims militarily. The second being that letting them win has no consequences that can’t be magically dismissed with an Obamaesque, “the 1930s called and asked for their foreign policy arguments back.”

  20. Wouldn’t say I was hugely convinced. A 2,200km range airplane flown across the Atlantic both ways? Yes, I know, refueling, but……

  21. “dearieme
    October 1, 2022 at 5:48 pm
    Since everyone knows about hydrates wouldn’t you design your line to avoid them?

    . . .

    The statement by DOTUS that I’ve seen is not actually a denial.”

    I mean, it Russia. How many times have they done things that any sane person could have told them would be disasterous? Everything from ‘we’ll save money by not training in damage control’s leading to the loss of a cruiser to Chernobyl.

    And as for the US – we have so many agencies that are effectively rogue that even if he took credit for it no one would believe he had any say.

  22. Steve, no one doing sabotage is gonna do the second job half a day later – having given the target time to figure out it was sabotage and be waiting.

  23. Wouldn’t say I was hugely convinced. A 2,200km range airplane flown across the Atlantic both ways? Yes, I know, refueling, but……

    The ferry range of the P8 is sufficient to get it across the Atlantic to the Baltic, but ferry range is for flight crew and no ordnance. Add (at least) two torpedoes and operators and it isn’t going to make it.

    “. . . everything I have shown and discovered is open source – meaning it is available to anyone around the world. I just happen to know where to look and have the tools that give me the opportunity to find the data.”

    The data’s open source and available to all, honest, but I’m just not going to point to it in this piece. How a masked military plane engaged in a covert sabotage operation is trackable with commercial flight monitoring apps will also remain a mystery. Twat.

    As described the flight over the area lasted about three and a quarter hours, covering a distance of roughly 430 miles. That means the aircraft was flying at considerably less than a third of its cruising speed (despite being shown at 424kts). The flight times are given as early morning GMT but the screen shot also shows 6:10 UTC and 8:09pm local Polish time.

    The article claims the final flight path before exit is a “bomb run” along the pipeline. Except it’s too far south and at the wrong angle (and why the fuck would you need a bomb run anyway, particularly one from the coast of Lithuania in full radar contact from Kaliningrad). The supposed release point is roughly 60km from the northern leak sites and 100km from the southern one. The Mk54 torpedo with the High Altitude Anti-Submarine Warfare Weapon Capability (HAAWC) system attached will weigh at least 300kg, and this heavy little glider with stubby thin wings isn’t going to cover those distances from 10,000ft.

    The secret aircraft is said to have been transiting directly from and to the US, but AE6851 was tracked near Norway on the 25th and Ireland on the 27th:
    https://www.radarbox.com/data/mode-s/AE6851
    If you follow the link for the 26th it shows the aircraft on a different flight path over the Baltic, and landing at FairIsle.

    The whole thing is an utter load of wank. He’s taken some true bits (a standard monitoring flight off Kaliningrad) and bashed out some conspiracy into his tissue. Apparently Nancy Pelosi isn’t part of the New World Order but Liz Truss is. Rub, rubbity rub.

    And remember to follow the prayer link.

  24. I consider there is a major problem with the “accident” theory here.

    First, while such an accident is possible, one supposes that some precautions were taken, even if insufficient. Gazprom is, after all, a company that seems no more or less competent than other oil and gas companies. (BP anyone?)

    I note the comments about “poor” Russian processes and the like; yes, they exist and it isn’t just in Russia, US has had a fair share of issues with O&G, so not impossible.

    Second, what IMHO, makes the accident cause argument difficult is the fact there are four explosions on two different pipelines. As Oscar Wilde would have said, to lose one is a misfortune, two is carelessness. Four is impossible.

    If we are witnessing an accident, I think the four explosions need a really convincing explanation. And it also needs to explain why (a) the explosions conveniently took place in international waters and (b) at depths of 80 metres or so, i.e. within submersible operational ranges.

    Hence, while I would like to think there is nothing nefarious about the explosions, it is a much less plausible theory than those pinning the blame on one of the “actors” who stand to gain from the event.

    Given that there is documented evidence of certain parties being in the neighbourhood around the time of the event or before, the still most likely cause is deliberate sabotage, not an accident IMHO.

    Peter

  25. There has been a part 2:

    https://thelawdogfiles.com/2022/10/nordstream-ii-electric-instapundit.html

    Not much new, but confirmation that the incidents occurred at bends in the pipes. Although he doesn’t appear to have picked up on it, a commenter on the previous thread said those locations were at local low points, so likely candidates for water collection.

    Additionally, the Russians were having compressor trouble on Nord I.

    Someone commenting on the new post said that the B pipe of Nord II is intact. If so and it was sabotage they didn’t do a good job.

  26. If we are witnessing an accident, I think the four explosions need a really convincing explanation.

    Were there four explosions? There are four leaks but I’ve only heard of two seismic events.

  27. Via Wikipedia, it does seem that one of the Nord Stream II pipes is intact. Not sure if that points to Russian maintenance or Russian sabotage.

    An interesting tidbit there, the pipe through Ukraine is still operational but may close down due to Russian sanctions coming in on the Ukrainian operator.

  28. With Steve on this:
    The best outcome over the next 3 months is UA and RUS come to a standstill after UA has recaptured a bit more land and agree a truce.
    RUS pays for rebuilding the cities they have smashed
    RUS pays for this by selling gas to the EU again (ah, that was the plan, but it’s going to take longer to restart the pipelines after the maintenance went wrong)
    More refugees return from Europe
    The people that live in the occupied territories get higher pension entitlements and to take their education in Russian and to watch Russian propaganda tv (might not want the second two there but more likely to do so than the rest of UA).
    Obvs not going to happen as UA have been promised almost unlimited weapons and training from USandA and others so there’s no incentive on their side to stop.

  29. PJF

    I’d always understood that the Russkies were pushing the Nord Stream and the Black Sea pipelines to avoid the transit taxes claimed by Ukraine, Poland etc.

    Thus another argument against Russian sabotage. Though not of course against Russian incompetence.

  30. The best outcome over the next 3 months is UA and RUS come to a standstill after UA has recaptured a bit more land and agree a truce.

    I would class the best outcome as being that after further setbacks for the Russians, Putin goes too far against the military establishment and they murder him and his hardline acolytes (including Kadyrov and Prigozhin) and stop the war, blaming the whole mess on the newly dead. I’d prefer a timeline of 3 weeks rather than months.

  31. Rationally, the solution is to let the breakaways go, sue for peace, fix new borders in a neutral Ukraine and get back to affordable energy . . .
    If one actually reads ones Putin, he believes Russia’s destiny is to recreate the historic Greater Russia. Which not only includes Ukraine but also the Baltic states & a large slice of Finland. So fix new borders? Yeah. Until he’s Russia’s military sorted out for his next try.

  32. This isn’t very encouraging. It’s October 2nd, just before what might be a winter of total energy disaster, at a time when gas prices are blowing the gages because everybody is outbidding everybody else – and National Grid has decided maybe they ought to top us up a bit:

    National Grid in urgent bid to import more gas – after exporting record amount
    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2022/10/01/national-grid-urgent-bid-import-gas-exporting-record-amount/

    I knew we were doing our bit to make sure the continent has it’s best chance to get through, but I assumed we had our own requirements sewn up. This kind of reckless largess has Boris written all over it.

  33. Tim: the P8 Poseidon is based on the civilian 737-800. One of the differences is the cargo bays are chockfull of extra fuel tanks.

    Combat radius is 2,222km, ferry range is 8,300. And refuelling makes it whatever they want.

    A theory BTL at Lawdog’s site is they could have flown from UK but Tryss would not approve it. Also that would create a paper trail.

    So they flew from the US. But somehow put all the details on planespotter nerd websites.

  34. A theory BTL at Lawdog’s site . . .

    No, Lawdog is the one suggesting the possibility of the Nord Stream incident being accidental.

    The idiot fantasist inventing stories about the pipeline being torpedoed from America is monkeywerxus.

  35. Which not only includes Ukraine but also … a large slice of Finland

    By “a large slice of” you mean “all of”. Finland gained independence from Russia during the chaos of the 1917 revolution.

  36. I think the crucial takeaway from all this is that even those who don’t think the US did it aren’t sure. Its not without the bounds of possibility that they did do it. Its not like everyone just laughs at the notion, like Greece giving Turkey anything other than ‘Nul points’ in Eurovision. And thats a big thing. We can’t be sure that the ‘ally’ of Europe didn’t just sabotage their energy lifeline for its own geopolitical ends. We consider them so unreliable now that such behaviour is possible, if perhaps not likely in this case.

  37. I dont buy in to the Yanks Did It!’conspiracy theory simly because of the number of people would had to have been involved in the decision making/planning/logistics/operational need-to-know-something loop. It’s going to be hundreds. Even if they didn’t know what they were involved in at the time, people aren’t stupid. They’ll put two & two together after the event. How could you count on nobody bubbling? How do you shut that down if they do? You’d be watching Seal Team 6 The Sequel on Netflix next year.

  38. Well let’s get a diver or ROV down there and see. It will be clear if it’s an internal explosion. If it’s a mine or just a big lump of HE, there will be evidence. If the mine is Russian, the US did it. And vice versa. The debris field will be prepared. Oh, and it has to be a diver from Denmark or Sweden. With photos.

    It seems John Brennan says Russia did it, and as he is a known disinformation conduit, that must be a lie.

    ( You wouldn’t use a P-8, just a fishing boat with explosive on a cable and an echo sounder or MAD gear.)

  39. Putin has already nabbed but not yet annexed chunks (proxy states of South Ossetia and Abkhazia) of Georgia, and continues to hold onto a sliver of Moldova (the supposedly independent Transnistria). He regularly rails about the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 and specifically voices anger about the way the Baltics and Ukraine escaped, but his logic would also extend to Moldova, the Caucasus (Armenia, Azerbaijan and particularly Georgia which has tried breaking away to a pro-Western orientation) and Central Asia (especially Kazakhstan which has a large Russian population but there are still significant Russian minorities in the other “stans”). As well as to reestablishing a Russian zone of influence over Eastern and Central Europe – and over to East Asia there’s still an active territorial dispute with Japan.

    But Putin spends time moaning about the Bolsheviks too and how much of the Russian Empire’s territory they gave away in 1917. Which is basically an extra claim on both Poland and Finland. (The Bolsheviks also accepted the loss of Moldova and the Baltics, but Stalin grabbed them back in the thirties when cooperating with Hitler, as well as taking Karelia in a failed attempt to get back the whole of Finland. So those claims are already covered in Putin’s regular “boo-boo the USSR should never have broken up and the people who chose independence didn’t know what they were doing” sob stories.)

    Putin also likes going on about Russian territorial expansion under the Tsars centuries ago, and the need to “regather” historical Russian lands. Applied to its fullest extent this would mean territorial clashes with places like China, Iran, Sweden, Turkey, Korea and even down into the Balkans. Not all at once, I imagine. But assuming Putin is followed by a sequence of wannabe Tsars with no respect for the idea that post-WW2 we don’t just go around expanding our borders by conquering the neighbours anymore, there’s a very full menu of irredentist complaints they can pursue. Decades worth, depending on whoever is looking weak and isolated at the time. If any of Russia’s neighbours fall into serious civil conflict (quite possibly in part due to Russian interference) then I imagine Russia and its peacekeeping army will be making “helpful” interventions.

  40. @Peter – “If we are witnessing an accident, I think the four explosions need a really convincing explanation.”

    It’s easy to explain multiple explosions in one pipe, assuming the hydrate problem is severe enough to create multiple plugs. If you depressurise both ends, thinking you are removing one plug, the plug at one end (whichever is smaller or warmer) will melt until it gets loose, fires itself down the pipe and causes an explosion at the next bend. That produces a violent depressurisation of the segment between that plug and the next, which in turn melts and fires itself off in the same way – repeat until you have either one plug left (if the far end is depressurised) or none (if you keep the far end pressurised). Once the first has fired, you can’t stop the rest as you have a hole in your pipe, so can’t re-pressurise it to allow for the very slow depressurisation which might save it.

    It’s not clear how close the explosions in the two pipelines were – possibly one set off the other, or human error triggered by one pipe failure, or similar curcumstances (seems unlikely as both pipes have been just sitting there for months).

    But only a site survey will actually proves what it was.

  41. It doesn't add up...

    Ridiculous. To cause a hydrate plug to go ballistic there has to be a big pressure differential either side. That means pumping. Nordstream 1 has been static since 31 August, and Nordstream 2 since initial pressurisation. That’s assuming you have hydrate plugs in large diameter pipes fed with dry gas built to Western standards (because of predominantly Western financing). We’re not talking about gathering lines in Siberia or even Texas.

    Brilliant deception by the Russians

    https://www.nrc.nl/nieuws/2022/09/30/wat-deed-dit-russische-zeilschip-bij-nord-stream-a4143743

    Magically they have pointed out that the pipes are repairable, so they just have asked the question a little louder: do the Germans want to live without supply next summer when they try to build winter stock, or would they like to acquiesce to Russian demands?

    The market already discounted no Nordstream over the winter when it was not returned to service a month ago.

  42. “Ridiculous. To cause a hydrate plug to go ballistic there has to be a big pressure differential either side. That means pumping. Nordstream 1 has been static since 31 August, and Nordstream 2 since initial pressurisation.”

    120-150 bar transmission pressure. Even at the depth of the… putative failures… that leaves… ummm… 1 bar per ten meters depth… an Awful Lot of overpressure..
    Even an accidental crack leading to local loss of pressure will lead to an impressive pressure differential along the length of the line.
    So yes, Stuff will be accelerated to rather impressive energetic values even over a short distance if Shyte really hits Fans.

    And honestly.. I’m still looking up likelyhood of methane ice forming for the conditions that are *supposed* to have been in the pipe.
    Very Much Not a slam-dunk bit of research by, admittedly, an educated dilletante..

  43. I note that the Poles were quite opposed to Nord Stream. Which of course leads one to wonder whether THEY sabotaged it. After all they’ve just been connected up to the Baltic pipeline from Norway.

    Another candidate’d be Ukraine. After all the Europeans might trade their support of Ukraine for their winter gas supply. Which would have to come through their pipelines, letting them charge a transit tax.

    But of course my favourite, sheer incompetence, is still possible. Perhaps the investigation’ll be sabotaged or incompetent too?

  44. I’ve not read all the comments here, but it’d be impossible for hydrates to cause that problem.
    Hydrates require water to form, and one thing you watch closely with a dry gas pipeline is the water content (water causes corrosion). They are 48″ pipelines, you’d need stupid amounts of water (enough to break the recieving facility) to form a hydrate blockage.
    And if one did form, a hydrate blockage wouldn’t cause a rupture like that, not a chance.

  45. I’ve not read all the comments here . . .

    It’s pretty much all been gone over to the level of understanding available.

    . . . one thing you watch closely with a dry gas pipeline is the water content . . .

    I remember Russians being mentioned.

    They are 48″ pipelines, you’d need stupid amounts of water . . .

    Methane hydrate: (CH4)4(H2O)23, or one mole of methane to 5.75 moles of water. So that’s certainly a lot of water to form a 48″ by eight or twelve foot plug. But the 48″ pipes are 764 miles long, which is a large volume. If the gas isn’t fully up to dry spec, you’ve got a lot of water.

    And if one did form, a hydrate blockage wouldn’t cause a rupture like that, not a chance.

    The industry disagrees:
    https://petrowiki.spe.org/Hydrate_plug_removal

    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Buggered if I know. I’m not attached at the hip to the idea; I only mentioned it for a laugh before Tim picked up on it.

    I think they said it would take about a week for the sea to become safe at the leak sites, so hopefully we’ll get an answer soon. Whether it was cock-up or conspiracy, it didn’t finish the job. One pipe out of the four is still available.

  46. @Bloke in Aberdeen,

    I also have some limited experience with hydrates. I looked at the temperature data (https://www.timeanddate.com/weather/@2623664/historic) for the island just North of where the “explosions” occurred and the temperature is very close to hydrate dissociation temperature. So, if there were hydrates present, an increase in temperature might cause the water to dissociate. It would then flow to the lowest point, which apparently where the ruptures occurred. Could the free water have collected to fill the pipeline with water and then freeze into water-ice, expanding and rupturing the pipe?

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