Nord Stream 2 construction site in Lubmin, Mecklenburg-West Pomerania (archive)
Photo: TOBIAS SCHWARZ / AFP
A loss of pressure in a tube of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline has sparked concerns about a possible leak.
A sudden drop in pressure was detected during the night on Monday, said the operator's spokesman, Ulrich Lissek.
The responsible naval authorities in Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Russia were informed immediately and the investigation into the incident is ongoing.
"There must be a hole somewhere," Lissek told the dpa news agency - "just nobody knows where." Gas could escape offshore.
Normally there is a pressure of 105 bar, currently it is only 7 bar on the German side.
Sanctions make clarification more difficult
The Federal Ministry of Economics announced, however, that the causes and the exact facts were not yet clear.
"We are currently in contact with the authorities concerned to clarify the matter," said a spokeswoman.
It is still being clarified whether the incident occurred in German territorial waters.
According to Nord Stream 2 AG, research into the causes is also very difficult for political reasons: Sanctions are being imposed, there are hardly any staff left and funds are frozen.
In Lubmin, where the pipeline lands in Germany, there are no Nord Stream 2 AG personnel, said Lissek.
You can't place any orders either, because you can't pay for them, and you have to see where you can get information from.
Hardly any impact on the Baltic Sea
According to the German Environmental Aid (DUH), a leak would have little impact on the marine environment in the Baltic Sea.
Natural gas is methane, which partially dissolves in water and is not toxic, said a DUH spokesman.
The greater the water depth at which gas is released, the higher the proportion of the greenhouse gas that is dissolved in the water.
Environmental aid sees the possible effects on flora and fauna as limited.
Even in the case of an underwater explosion, there would only be local effects.
However, escaping methane is very harmful to the climate.
The double strand of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline runs 1,230 kilometers from Russia through the Baltic Sea to Germany.
She is completed and filled with gas, but she has never imported gas.
The federal government had put the approval process for the completed line on hold in February shortly before the Russian attack on Ukraine, and even after that it always emphasized that putting it into operation was out of the question.
Shortly before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the United States imposed sanctions on Nord Stream 2 AG and made all transactions with the Swiss-based company impossible.
Only recently was an impending bankruptcy averted again.