If Russia Blew Up Nord Stream 2 Why Would It Start Expensive Repairs?
The NYT asks
Source: The New York Times
In recent weeks, Nord Stream AG, which is majority-owned by a Kremlin-controlled company, has begun pricing out the cost to repair the pipe and restore gas flow, according to a person briefed on the work who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about it publicly. One repair estimate starts at about $500 million, the person said. Consultants for Russia are also studying how long the damaged pipes can withstand saltwater exposure. The inquiries raise the question of why, if Russia bombed its own pipelines, it would begin the expensive work of repairing them.
But like any good mystery story, the sabotage has layers of intrigue and multiple players with degrees of motive and ability. Even the decision by the Swedish government to keep details of its inquiry secret from Western allies has prompted whispered speculation that perhaps investigators have cracked the case and are strategically keeping quiet.
Not so, Mr. Stenling said. “We have no concrete evidence,” he said. “But hopefully we will.”
As for his government’s choice to keep its cards close, Mr. Stenling said: “The entire investigation is unusual.”
Nord Stream encompasses two projects, each a pair of concrete-encased steel pipes nearly four feet in diameter and more than 700 miles long.
Just about everyone else in Europe, along with the United States, objected. A senior Polish official even compared the pipeline deal to the pre-World War II pact between Hitler and Stalin that carved up Poland.
Last year, Ukrainian energy regulators sent a 13-page letter to Poland as part of a coordinated effort to stop the new pipeline from coming online. Nord Stream II “will negatively impact on Ukraine’s national security,” read the letter, which was obtained by The New York Times. The letter also warned of economic consequences for Ukraine, since Russian companies still pay to send gas through Ukrainian pipes.
Even after Russia invaded, a Ukrainian government document obtained by The Times shows that Ukraine expected to continue charging Russian companies, including state-owned Gazprom and Rosneft, to transmit gas during the first half of 2022. Under its contract, Ukraine receives an average of $1 billion a year in transit fees.
So the pipelines had no shortage of adversaries.