NORSAR Suspects Gas Pipeline Explosion as Sabotage

( – The Balticonnector gas pipeline runs between Estonia and Finland. The pipeline allows natural gas to flow in both directions. On October 8, the authorities shut the structure down after an unusual drop in pressure. A communication cable was also damaged. Officials now believe they were sabotaged.

On October 10, the Norwegian Seismic Array (NORSAR) claimed that it had, in fact, detected an explosion along the Finnish coast on October 8. However, the Finnish government hasn’t yet confirmed that was the case.

On the same day as NORSAR’s announcement, Finnish President Sauli Niinistö issued a statement, saying it was likely that the “damage to both the gas pipeline and the communication cable is the result of external activity.” He said it’s not clear what damaged them, but an investigation is ongoing.

Researchers are currently looking for signs of an explosion or some other activity that can explain the sudden drop in pressure. Timo Tiira, the University of Helsinki’s Institute of Seismology’s research director, wrote an email saying they haven’t “detected any signals of an explosion” but they’re “still looking for that.” The director explained that if there was a blast near the pipeline that caused the issue, then it wasn’t at the detectable threshold.

While experts try to come to a consensus on what caused the issues, the Finnish Ministry of Economic Affairs warned citizens that the repairs to the pipeline are going to take months. As a result, they might see an increase in gas prices over the winter.

NATO released a statement and said the international alliance is going to step “up to enhance the security of critical undersea infrastructure.” The increased security came after two explosions damaged the Nord Stream pipeline. NATO went on to say that it has made technological advances in security, including using drones to detect unapproved activity near critical underwater infrastructure.

Some experts believe the damage might be related to Finland’s acceptance into NATO. However, there’s no evidence to support that theory at this time.

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