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Latvia steps up infrastructure security due to Nord Stream incident

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In response to the information on potential sabotage of the gas transmission infrastructure in the Baltic Sea “Nord Stream”, the Latvian authorities have stepped up security measures in the energy transmission infrastructure sector, the Ministry of Interior told LETA on September 28.

It was not disclosed exactly how the security measures are enhanced. Latvian Television reported Wednesday that there is no information at the disposal of the services responsible that would give rise to an increased level of terrorism threats, according to Interior Minister Kristaps Eklons (Development/For!).

The Danish authorities have identified three leaks in the pipelines Nord Stream and Nord Stream 2, which extend from Russia to Germany. Two of the leaks are located in the Nord Stream pipeline northeast of Bornholm Island in the Baltic Sea, while another is identified in Nord Stream 2 southeast of this island. The leaks are located in Danish and Swedish territorial waters. None of these pipelines is currently operating, so these incidents do not affect gas supplies to Europe. 

Observation stations in Sweden and Denmark registered strong underwater explosions before leaks from the Nord Stream pipelines in the Baltic Sea were detected. The explosions were also registered by the Latvian observation station in Slītere. 

Rīga Technical University (RTU) professor Aleksandrs Dolgicers told LTV that in case similar incidents repeat, Latvia would not remain without gas or electricity.

“In theory, yes, [electricity] cables can be attacked in the same way as the gas pipeline has been attacked. May interfere with their functioning. But – good news for us, bad news for the villains – the Baltic region's energy system is designed from the outset to meet the criteria. This means that the system must be able to operate,” said Dolgivers.

“Speaking of a direct attack on a particular cable, I mean, it's not that critical. Of course, this is an inconvenience, so it is the basic channels that are our communication with the outside world - connections that are now with Sweden, optical cables from Ventspils. But there are also other detour ways that can provide us with communication channels,” said Jurģis Poriņš, professor at RTU Electronics and Telecommunications Faculty.

The Latvian State Environmental Service has acknowledged that there are no immediate, significant consequences, but it is considered too early to draw conclusions. Since natural gas consists predominantly of methane, large quantities of its leaks can contribute to the greenhouse effect.

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