A new video from the Nord Stream pipeline leaks that began last month reveal a major wound—a hole about 50 meters (164 feet) across located approximately 80 meters (262 feet) below the ocean’s surface.
The Nord Stream pipeline system is a massive project connecting the natural gas output of Russia to Germany, and last month it began to leak. As gas poured out of the pipeline following a series of explosions last month, investigations into the incident have revealed increasing evidence of sabotage. While the ongoing investigations abroad continue to determine the circumstances surrounding the leaks, a video published early this morning gives us a glimpse at what the pipeline looks like following the alleged sabotage. The video was taken by the Norwegian company Blueye Robotics and was initially published by Swedish news agency Expressen, but was republished on Twitter by user AZgeopolitics.
“It is only an extreme force that can bend metal that thick in the way we are seeing,” said Trond Larsen, the submersible operator with Blueye Robotics, to Expressen as quoted in Barron’s. Additionally, Larsen says he observed “a very large impact on the seabed around the pipe.” Blueye Robotics did not immediately return Gizmodo’s request for comment.
The Nord Stream network consists of two pipelines, Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2, that run a collective 2,456 kilometers (1,526 miles) beneath the Baltic Sea. Nord Stream 1 has an annual capacity of 55 billion cubic meters (1.9 trillion cubic feet) of natural gas. While Nord Stream 2 has not yet entered service, its capacity would reportedly double this volume. A total of four leaks have been identified across the pipelines’ distance, which may have resulted in the largest methane leak ever—an estimate from the Danish government suggests a total emission of 778 million cubic meters of gas.
Previous tensions between Russia and Germany regarding the Nord Stream pipeline project include Germany blocking the activation of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline last February amidst the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In July, Gazprom, the state-owned majority shareholder in Nord Stream, reportedly curtailed the throughput of Nord Stream 1 to 20% of the maximum capacity.