Daily Memo: Gas Leaks in Nord Stream Pipelines

Three leaks have been discovered in the lines, which run through the Baltic Sea.

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Gas leaks. Danish authorities reported on Monday night a gas leak off the coast of the island of Bornholm coming from the defunct Nord Stream 2 pipeline in the Baltic Sea. Two more leaks were later reported on both lines of Nord Stream 1, which is operational. Nord Stream AG, the operator of the pipelines, called the simultaneous destruction of three strings of the system “unprecedented” and said it was impossible to know how long it would take to repair it. Russia’s Gazprom reduced deliveries via Nord Stream 1 over the summer and shut them completely in early September, ostensibly for maintenance. Nord Stream 2 was supposed to be operational this year, but Germany suspended the approval process after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Strange encounter. A U.S. Coast Guard vessel last week encountered three Chinese naval ships and four Russian naval ships in the Bering Sea off the coast of Alaska’s Kiska Island, U.S. officials revealed on Monday. The vessels, including a Chinese guided missile cruiser and a Russian destroyer, dispersed after a U.S. patrol boat spotted them sailing in single formation. The Bering Sea is a strategic waterway with access to the Arctic Ocean, an increasingly important area of interest featured heavily in Russia’s new naval doctrine.

Spying allegations. Russia’s ambassador to Japan was summoned to the Japanese Foreign Ministry after a Japanese consul was detained on Monday by Russia’s FSB security agency for suspected spying and declared persona non grata. Russia accused the consul of obtaining classified information. Tokyo denied any wrongdoing. A day earlier, Japan announced new sanctions against Russia, adding 21 defense-linked organizations to its sanctions list and banning the export of products related to chemical weapons.

Satellite exchange. Russia and China signed contracts for the deployment of Russia’s GLONASS satellite system in China and China’s Beidou satellite system in Russia following a meeting on Tuesday of a bilateral committee for strategic cooperation on satellite navigation projects. Russia is expanding cooperation with the East as it faces increasing pressure from the West.

Disruption. The Switzerland-based Glencore mining group is facing uncertainty as one of its largest buyers, China’s Maike Metals International, experiences liquidity issues. Maike accounted for 80 percent of Glencore’s copper sales, which have recently fallen significantly. The Chinese commodities trader recently announced that it was considering a broad restructuring.

Geopolitical Futures (GPF) was founded in 2015 by George Friedman, international strategist and author of The Storm Before the Calm and The Next 100 Years. GPF is non-ideological, analyzes the world and forecasts the future using geopolitics: political, economic, military and geographic dimensions at the foundation of a nation.