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Leak detected on another Russian pipeline connecting to Europe, but Poland says it looks accidental

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PERN said pumping on the damaged Druzhba line, which delivers oil to Germany, was immediately switched off and the scene had been secured.
Omar Marques | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Polish pipeline operator PERN said Wednesday that a leak detected on one of its Druzhba pipelines bringing oil from Russia to Europe was likely caused by an accident.

The leak was detected on Tuesday evening on one of the two lines of the Western section of the pipeline, PERN said in a statement. The incident occurred roughly 70 kilometers (about 43 miles) from the central Polish city of Plock.

PERN said pumping on the damaged line, which delivers oil to Germany, was immediately switched off and the scene had been secured. Pumping through the other line continued as normal, the company said.

The cause of the incident is not yet known, but the Polish government said the damage caused was probably accidental.

Mateusz Berger, Poland’s top official in charge of energy infrastructure, told Reuters via telephone that there were no grounds to believe the leak was caused by sabotage. “Here we can talk about accidental damage,” Berger said.

The Druzhba pipeline, which translates as “friendship” in Russia, is one of the biggest oil pipeline networks in the world, delivering crude from Russia to much of central and eastern Europe including Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Belarus, Poland and Slovakia.

It comes just over two weeks after a series of blasts on two subsea gas pipelines connecting Russia to Germany triggered what might be the single largest release of methane in history.

Nord Stream gas leaks

An initial crime scene investigation led by Sweden’s national security service said the gas leaks on the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines reinforced suspicions of “gross sabotage.”

Many in Europe suspect the Nord Stream gas leaks were the result of a deliberate attack, particularly as the blasts came amid a bitter energy standoff between the European Union and Russia.

The Kremlin has repeatedly dismissed claims it destroyed the pipelines, calling such allegations “stupid” and “absurd,” and claiming that it is the U.S. that had the most to gain from the gas leaks.

The White House has denied any involvement in the suspected attack.

Climate scientists described the shocking images of gas spewing to the surface of the Baltic Sea as a “reckless release” of greenhouse gas emissions that, if deliberate, “amounts to an environmental crime.”
Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Oil prices traded higher on Wednesday morning.

International benchmark Brent crude futures traded 0.5% higher at $94.80 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate futures stood at $89.66 a barrel, up around 0.3%.

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