After a series of explosions earlier this week disabled Russia’s Nord Stream gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea in a suspected sabotage act, US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm warned the US energy industry, including LNG tanker operators, to be on high alert.
Two days earlier, the vital Russia-Europe gas conduits were taken out by the blasts with the flow of gas to Europe halted for the foreseeable future, prompting Germany to issue a general security threat after ruling out natural causes for the blasts.
Evidently concerned about attacks on its own gas infrastructure – with LNG shipments, in particular, being a vulnerable point – Granholm warned that they have to be on heightened alert and that LNG shipments to Europe should take more precautions.
A deliberate attack on one of these ships, as the Sandia National Laboratories warned in 2004, could cause a fireball that would be hazardous to human health as far as 1.6 km away.
Granholm also pointed out that the incident illustrated the risks to EU countries of relying on another entity for their energy, noting that nations should re-evaluate those risks, and underscored why countries need to raise their defenses in the face of Russian efforts to weaponize gas and other energy infrastructure.
Nord Stream attacks come in light of successive US administrations’ attempts to prevent the Nord Stream 2 completion and convince the EU to swap Russian gas for the American LNG.
Having in mind that US President Joe Biden ‘promised’ in early February that the US would “end” the pipeline if Russian troops entered Ukraine and that NATO had tested underwater drones near Bornholm, where explosions happened, this summer, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova called on Washington to ‘confess’ to destroying Nord Stream pipelines.
Although Moscow has suggested that the US was responsible for the blasts, Granholm called for an “expedited investigation” into who bears responsibility for the blasts that multiple US officials have labeled as apparent sabotage, avoiding blaming any country or group.